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Series / Accused (2023)

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Accused is a Genre Anthology Courtroom Drama that premiered on Fox on January 22, 2023. Each episode focuses on a different courtroom case, with flashbacks showing the audience just what the crime was and if the accused is, in fact, guilty.

Tropes by Episode

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    In General 
  • Ambiguous Ending: Several episodes end in manners that makes clear the story isn't over yet for the characters, but what exactly happens after that is left unknown to the viewers due to the overall self-contained nature of the episodes, leaving them as both this trope and other types of endings.
    • "Danny's Story" mixes this with Downer Ending. Danny is convinced to plead to insanity and is sent to a mental institution, and Alison has successfully convinced everyone that Danny has schizophrenia and killed Danny's father. The episode ends however with her partaking in Evil Gloating while revealing that Danny's brother, Matthew, is still alive, albeit being poisoned by Alison, leaving it open-ended as to whether Alison will succeed in killing Matthew too, or if she'll be caught and Danny exonerated.
    • "Kendall's Story" mixes this with "Ray of Hope" Ending. Kendall is falsely convicted of the charges against him, but Detective Douglas promises to get justice for him by going after Lamar and David while exonerating him. What's more, while Lamar is entirely unrepentant about what he did to Kendall, David is, which Lamar is aware of and trying to stomp out, setting the stage for Douglas to continue his investigation into the two of them.
    • "Morgan's Story". Morgan is acquitted of all charges and she retains full custody of Ari, and she and Kashir can finally be together. Jason, however, makes clear he's not done with trying to ruin Morgan, and has been stalking them, even revealing himself to Ari at the park they're at. Whether this is just a scare tactic meant to terrify Morgan or if he's planning to try and kidnap Ari now that he couldn't send Morgan to prison is unknown, nor is the idea if Jason will ever be stopped.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • In "Laura's Story" Joanna is a conspiracy monger and huge jerkass who's claimed murdered children never even existed, with their grieving families being paid liars. As a result of her incitement, her followers harass and dox Laura's family after she attempts to oppose this. She's murdered by Laura's son for this.
    • In "Esme's Story" Esme kills Shaggy and Ancel, both Neo-Nazi terrorists who'd previously committed murder.
    • In "Samir's Story", Alice's boyfriend Josh is secretly married and using Alice as a mistress, until Samir blackmails him into ending it. When Josh comes back anyway and Alice declares her desire to not see either of them anymore, Josh subjects Samir to a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, beating him within an inch of his life and forcing him to crawl back to his car. When Alice refuses to let him back in, he tries to goad Samir out of his car as an excuse to continue the beatdown, even taunting him using toxic masculinity. Samir kills him out of rage instead.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • "Scott's Story" makes it appear that Scott is on trial for killing his son when he suspected the boy was a sociopath. It turns out he's really being accused of unwittingly financing his son and his friend for a mass shooting spree at their school where Scott's son killed himself. The judge dismisses the charges but that doesn't help his own feelings.
    • "Danny's Story" frames the episode as if Danny is suffering a psychotic break and wrongfully accusing his father's new girlfriend Alison of killing his mother and trying to poison him, culminating in him non-fatally stabbing her during a breakdown. This is aided by his school suggesting he's had long standing emotional issues that his mother never sought help for, and his father revealing his maternal uncle suffered from schizophrenia and killed himself as a result of it. The final few minutes however reveal he's completely sane, and has Alison visit him in a psychiatric ward, where she all but proceeds to gloat to Danny that she got away with killing his father, is in the process of killing his brother, and no one will believe him thanks to thinking he's suffering from schizophrenia.
    • In "Jack's Story", when Britney is asked about why she broke off her engagement with Jack, the initial setup makes it look like Britany broke it off cause she thought Jack was cheating on her with Clara. It's later revealed that she broke off the engagement because of Jack lying to her about taking Clara for an abortion, being pro-life and hating that Jack would facilitate an abortion in any way, especially since she was nearly aborted before her birth had a stranger not talked her mother out of it.
    • In "Jiro's Story", Osamu, Jiro's handicapped brother, tells Jiro about a "bad guy", which when combined with the bruises on Osamu's arm, leads Jiro to think Osama's neighbor at the nursing center, Kyle, is abusing him. While Kyle is temperamental and territorial, the staff themselves are abusing their patients, and the "bad guy" Osamu is referring to is his caretaker, Leon.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • In "Naataanii's Story" Derrick is killed but thanks to the bailiff getting the confession of the false testimony on tape, the case against the others is thrown out, the FBI agent in charge of this mess and that guard are likely in trouble and the scandal has caused the Justice Department to stop the illegal mining.
    • In "Brenda's Story", Brenda is found not guilty but it's implied her career is in tatters and Zeke's likely to still spin himself as the "victim" in this.
    • In "Jack's Story" Jack is cleared of the charge of statutory rape, Clara is freed from her stepfather thanks to his arrest, and Jack and Clara reconcile. Britney however can't condone Jack having helped Clara get an abortion even if she thinks he's a good man overall and permanently ends their relationship as a result, and Jack is charged of transporting a minor across state borders without parental consent, which will likely strip him of his teaching license in Texas.
    • More on the sweet side for the primary characters in "Jiro's Story", bitter side on the grandscale. Jiro manages to gain custody of Osamu and brings him home with his family, where Osamu is much happier, and his family is happy to have him with them. Jiro however has to plead guilty to assault and kidnapping for it to happen, giving him a criminal record. What's more, the state of his job is in flux due to missing his flight and Videla's complaint against him, meaning he could possibly lose his job in the future. And it's unclear if the center that was abusing Osamu will face any punishment for their abuse of Osamu, if Osamu was the only patient of theirs they were abusing, nor if Kyle was actually guilty of anything aside from taking the tablet and was just scapegoated under the excuse of his "breaking parole".
    • In "Morgan's Story", Morgan is cleared of all false charges against her, Ari is returned to her full custody, and they and Kashir can begin to live happily for now. Eric, however, who was already reluctant to be involved in Jason's schemes, is arrested for his role in the Frame-Up, and Jason is still stalking Morgan and Ari, making clear to everyone he is not done with trying to ruin Morgan.
  • Category Traitor:
    • In "Kendall's Story", Detective Douglas, the detective investigating the molestation of Kendall's daughter, is derided by Kendall's friends Lamar and David for being a black man working in law enforcement, saying he can't be trusted due to a prior case in which a young black man was killed and he allegedly did nothing. Lamar in particular uses this to justify going after the molester themselves. Douglas does himself no favors when he confronts Kendall and points out Lamar and David's poor character whereas Kendall is a good guy in a bad situation, Kendall thinking he just wants him to flip on his friends. After Lamar convinces David to flip on Kendall though out of fear he'll say something, Douglas proves himself to be a firm ally of Kendall's, believing him over Lamar and David, and saying he'll do what he can to prove it so that what happened to that young black man won't happen again.
    • In "Esme's Story", Shaggy considers Esme one, saying the reason he chose to drive into the rally like he did was because he saw a "White girl" among the mostly black and Latino protestors. He's also disgusted to learn she's a lesbian dating Aaliyah, who's black.
  • Dirty Cop:
    • In "Robyn's Story", the bailiff taking Robyn to and from court lets in Jamie's brother when he's in the restroom, who then beats him up.
    • In "Naataani's Story", the FBI agent who handled Derrick is willing to coerce, frame and murder people.
    • In "Morgan's Story", Jason's brother Eric is an NYPD detective, and normally a morally upstanding one. After Jason comes to him for help and preys on his familial bond after Eric initially refuses, he reluctantly frames Morgan, Jason's ex-wife, for drug dealing so Jason'll get sole custody of their son. It gets exposed at the end, with him being arrested.
  • Disappeared Dad:
    • In "Jack's Story", Clara's father left her when she was little, after wracking a lot of debt up. Unfortunately, her stepfather sexually abused her after replacing him.
    • In "Jessie's Story" Jessie was conceived by sperm donation, and dislikes not having a father or knowing anything about him, while her mom's resistant to her inquiries. It turns out this is because she wasn't conceived that way, but from a drunken one night stand her mom had, and her father is their next door neighbor Dominic. At the end, once it's been revealed, the two have started to bond.
  • Downer Ending:
    • "Danny's Story". Danny was right in his claims that Alison killed his mother and was trying to poison him, but no one believes him and he's locked in a mental ward. His father dies of a "heart attack" after their honeymoon, and his brother is feeling the same stomach pain he felt that alerted him to the fact he was being poisoned, meaning she's close to killing him too. All Danny can do as he's being held down and sedated is watch in horror as she gives him a Smug Smirk.
    • "Kendall's Story". Kendall refuses to give up what happened as he doesn't want buddies Lamar and David to go to jail for killing his daughter's molester. But then his "good friends" throw him under the bus, blaming the whole thing on Kendall and how they tried to stop him. The jury finds him guilty, putting him in jail for most of his daughter's life. There is a "Ray of Hope" Ending as the main detective tells Kendall he believes his story and will do everything it takes to prove it.
    • In "Esme's Story" Esme is found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and sent to prison, and while Aaliyah is free, the two are now forced apart. What's worse is that Esme's actions turned Ancel and Shaggy into martyrs for their cause.
    • In "Billy's Story" Billy pleads guilty to manslaughter in the death of his son and is sentenced to four years in prison. Given his cancer, he will likely die in prison.
  • False Flag Operation:
    • In "Laura's Story", this is what Conspiracy Theorist Joanna and her group are convinced is going on, that the school shooting was faked to "steal our guns", with the students killed being "crisis actors" that weren't actually killed due to the police never publicizing their autopsy reports or showing the bodies.
    • In "Esme's Story", Esme manages to steal the car Shaggy used at the flea-market after nearly being killed by him but stopped by Ancel, having taken it to escape and hopefully use as evidence to get them arrested. However, when the lead detective opens the trunk, he discovers it has a fertilizer bomb in it, which detonates right as he yells for everyone to get back. The explosion results in six deaths, and pushes Esme over the Despair Event Horizon, causing her to run over Shaggy and Ancel, believing they faked the fight just so she'd take the car.
  • Frame-Up:
    • In "Naataanii's Story", Derrick's FBI handler has him murdered to frame the rest for Felony Murder, claiming that he'd been armed and placing a gun by his side afterward to sell the facade. He likewise gets the guard they had taken captive to give false testimony claiming Derrick took the gun they left behind. Had it not been for the bailiff recording the entire conversation having realized something was wrong, the agent would have gotten away with it.
    • In "Morgan's Story", Jason has Eric, his NYPD detective brother, plant cocaine in Morgan's trunk to frame her as a drug dealer in addition to having his informant claim he'd bought it from her before.
  • Genre Anthology: The series is a Courtroom Drama style anthology with each episode, named after a specific character, focusing on the titular character appearing in court and facing unknown charges. What the charges are will be slowly revealed over the course of the episode, as well as if the titular character actually committed the crime and How We Got Here overall, with the occasional Bait-and-Switch or Red Herring in regards to what actually occurred, with the climax of the episode focusing on the verdict and immediate aftermath.
  • Hollywood Law:
    • In "Ava's Story", the judge dismisses all the charges when the parents of Lucie, the baby Ava kidnapped, don't want to go on, as the prosecutor agrees to. In reality, though she might dismiss a reckless endangerment charge in this case (though almost certainly before the trial began) the kidnapping charge would stand and it's very unlikely the prosecutor wouldn't proceed as it's a very serious crime, no matter what the victim's family wanted (it's not up to them). Since there's no doubt Ava really did kidnap Lucie, she'd certainly be convicted and could face a long time in prison.
    • In "Brenda's Story", it's quite unlikely that Brenda really would be charged with the evidence presented, as it's not enough to show that she was involved with the crime. Most probably, the case would be dismissed assuming she was actually charged before getting to trial.
    • In "Jack's Story", it's unlikely Jack would be charged with statutory rape solely on the basis of Clara claiming they had sex, especially as there are many witnesses in his favor testifying he was never once inappropriate with her. Many rape cases even with more evidence don't get to trial if the prosecution doesn't think they can win.
  • The Sociopath:
    • In "Scott's Story", Hunter is clearly a sociopath, showing no empathy toward others but is also skilled at concealing this and manipulating them.
    • "Danny's Story" has Alison revealed as a twisted monster responsible for killing Danny's parents and about to kill his brother.
    • "Morgan's Story" has Jason. He is an Entitled Bastard who sees everything in his life as something he owns, has a severe Lack of Empathy for anyone, even his own son, and has no issue ruining the lives of others if it means getting what he wants. Even when his brother, Eric, expresses obvious reluctance to follow his plan and is later arrested for it, Jason doesn't care whatsoever, more pissed off the plan failed than anything, and only threatens to drag Eric down with him if he doesn't do as he's told.
  • Vigilante Execution:
    • In "Kendall's Story", after his daughter is molested at the park, Kendall's friend Lamar convinces him to join Lamar and David in hunting down the pedophile and beating the shit out of him. After Lamar goes too far and the man dies the next morning, Kendall becomes an immediate suspect for this very reason. Lamar and David proceed to invoke this as Kendall's reason when they claim he was the sole perpetrator and they "tried stopping him".
    • In "Esme's Story", Esme ran down Ancel and Shaggy, two Neo-Nazi terrorists, on locating them with her car (just as the latter had to a friend of hers), killing them both.
  • Villain with Good Publicity:
    • Downplayed in "Laura's Story". Joanna is seen as a Conspiracy Theorist by a significant number of people, but most of the people in her community are shown to be followers of her, and buy into her claims that Laura is in on the "conspiracy" after one follower doxes her family. Not helping matters is when Laura angrily confronts her at one of her rallies and needs to be escorted away by police, with Joanna adding on a restraining order against Laura for good measure. It's because of this that Eric would rather Laura give up her fight with Joanna in favor of moving to Baltimore, since, as he reminds Laura when she argues about not wanting to leave their home, everyone in town hates them now in favor of Joanna.
    • In "Jack's Story", Clara didn't tell anyone of being raped by her stepfather at first because, as a seemingly upstanding citizen (he teaches Sunday school), she didn't think anybody, even her mother, would believe it. However, at the end her mom does and he's arrested.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Pretty much the format of the show.

    Tropes in "Scott's Story" 
  • Axes at School: Scott fears that his son, Devin, is planning to shoot up his school. He does, along with an accomplice, killing several students and taking others hostage before killing himself.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Scott is accosted by survivors of Devin's school shooting due to believing Scott bankrolled the entire situation, which is why Scott is on trial to begin with. In truth, while Scott knew Devin had intended to cause a shooting, he had tried to kill Devin to prevent it, but couldn't go through with it. He had gave Devin the money because his son told him it was for a trip for him to try and get better, and Scott wanted to have faith that Devin actually intended this.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Scott, when he realizes what he thought was a loan for his troubled son to go on a trip with a friend was instead used to purchase the weapons for them to go on a shooting spree.
  • Offing the Offspring: Scott planned to kill his son, Devin, before he could enact his planned mass shooting. While he nearly did, Scott just couldn't do it. Unfortunately his son committed just such a shooting which he feared.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: Invoked by the prosecution. The prosecutor accuses Scott of lying about his reasoning for giving Devin the money, that his son had claimed he was going on a trip to try and get better, by claiming that only an idiot would believe that was Devin's reasoning after having been fully aware of the danger Devin posed and Scott having just tried to kill him. Scott however is telling the truth, he had just wanted to have faith in his son for once, and the prosecution fails to prove to the court the idea Scott is lying beyond a reasonable doubt, resulting in Scott being acquitted of all charges.
    Tropes in "Ava's Story" 
  • Baby Be Mine: Played with. Ava acted as a surrogate mother for Jenny and Max's baby, Lucie, but largely had no initial issues outside of being reminded of the baby she had to give up when she was a teenager. Upon learning Lucie is deaf however, she immediately goes off the deep end and begins searching for means to take custody, furthered upon learning Max wanted her to get a cochlear implant, which she sees as child abuse. As a result, she kidnaps Lucie and tries to take her to Michigan, where she thought surrogacy laws aren't enforced due to her misinformed law student friend.
  • Hand Signals: The episode features a heavy focus on deaf people, so much of the dialogue occurs in ASL.
  • Noble Bigot: Max, Jenny's husband, displays some minor ableist tendencies regarding the hearing impaired, feeling betrayed that Jenny didn't mention her great-aunt was deaf and thinking that's the reason their daughter Lucie is deaf. His reasoning for wanting to get her a cochlear implant stems both from this, and feeling she'd have a genuinely happier life being able to hear and experience things like music. When Ava ends up kidnapping Lucie, any concerns about Lucie being deaf go out the window in favor of desperation to get his daughter back.
  • Prejudice Aesop: Delivers one that being deaf isn't a terrible thing; hearing people should accept that if their child is deaf rather than trying to fix them and definitely teach sign language, which makes things far easier.
  • Reading Lips: Discussed, showcasing the real difficulty of doing this for deaf people, as Ava grew up not learning how to sign at first and so lip-read instead, which worked poorly since people often were looking away or wouldn't repeat themselves when she missed something. Learning sign language was a godsend after this.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Ava says she got pregnant while 16, giving her baby up for adoption. Despite her claims to the contrary, this clearly left longstanding psychological issues, and is partly the factor for her actions regarding Lucie.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Discussed, with the notion Played for Drama. Ava, who's deaf, finds out that the baby she gave birth to as a surrogate is deaf too, while the baby's father wants her deafness cured with a cochlear implant (partially as he wants her to experience music like him, but also general ableism). She's strongly opposed to this, along with her husband KJ, as the implants can work badly, there's nothing so bad in being deaf, and it also affects deaf children with hearing parents poorly knowing they view them as "lesser". Ava kidnaps little Lucie as a result to prevent this, along with the other pain she experienced as a deaf child growing up with a hearing parent who didn't understand her.

    Tropes in "Danny's Story" 
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Alison, as Danny was dead right on the woman being a murderess who killed his mother, attempted to kill him and also responsible for his father's death and about to murder his brother too for the money. The smug smirk she gives him at the end proves her true nature.
  • Cassandra Truth: Danny is genuinely afraid that his dad's new girlfriend and his deceased mother's hospice worker is trying to kill him after killing his mother. No matter who he tells this to though, they don't believe him, thinking he's either taking his grief out on an innocent woman or suffering a schizophrenic episode, something not helped by his inability to find concrete evidence to prove it. This culminates in his non-fatal stabbing of Alison and arrest, with even his lawyer stating no jury would believe his claims that Alison was trying to kill him, with her and his brother Matthew convincing him to seek a psych evaluation and getting him put in a psychiatric facility. He's entirely right though, as Alison visits him at the very end and all but outright admits to his suspicions, while sadly telling Danny that not only did his father die of a "heart attack" following their honeymoon, but that Matthew is suffering stomach problems now too. She then flashes him a smug and sadistic grin as the guards try to sedate him, knowing no one will ever believe him.
  • Insanity Defense: Danny, faced with an attempted murder charge, refuses to let his lawyer argue insanity, insisting that his stepmother really murdered his mother and he stabbed her to protect the rest of his family. Everyone else though believes he's mentally ill, and he finally acquieces. It apparently worked, with Danny sent to a mental institution rather than prison. However, he now can't get out either, and his stepmother really did do what he claimed, having now murdered his father and begun to poison his brother as well.
  • Wicked Stepmother: The end reveals that Danny was right-his stepmother really did murder his mother, has now murdered his father and is currently poisoning his brother.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Danny is convinced that his stepmother had murdered his mother, and wants to murder his father too. He acts so unhinged however that everyone just becomes convinced that he's lost it, including his father. He gets committed to a mental institution in the end, with a wrongful diagnosis of having paranoid schizophrenia. Danny was right, and his stepmother really did murder his mother, has now murdered his father and is working to murder his brother as well.

    Tropes in "Kendall's Story" 
  • Accidental Murder: When Lamar tells Kendall that David managed to locate the man who molested Kendall's daughter based on his profile picture, he convinces him to join him and David in beating the shit out of him. When Lamar keeps going as he's already injured reaching to dial 911, Kendall and David have to pull Lamar off him, the three leaving when he's still alive. When he's found the next morning, he's near death, and dies on his way to the hospital.
  • The Corrupter: Kendall's close friend Lamar acts as this towards him and David, prompting Kendall to enact vigilante justice on the man who molested Kendall's daughter rather than let the police handle it, and regularly goading Kendall by claiming it's all for his daughter's sake and that they need to take justice into their own hands. When it looks like Kendall might confess to Detective Douglas though, he gets David to join him in pining all the blame on Kendall rather than face prison time.
  • The Scapegoat: When Kendall, Lamar, and David confront the man who molested Kendall's daughter, the three proceed to beat the shit out of him. While Kendall and David back off though, Lamar goes back and starts again, requiring the former two to drag him off of the guy. The next morning, Kendall learns from Detective Douglas that the man died from his injuries. Both his wife and Detective Douglas want Kendall to confess to his involvement and admit that it was Lamar who dealt the finishing blow to the man, but Kendall refuses to flip on Lamar or David. By time Kendall is ready to tell the truth, Lamar and David turned on him and claimed it was all his idea, rather than face going to jail again, with Kendall being declared guilty for the entire thing.
  • With Us or Against Us: Lamar has this mentality. Lamar is very much angry against the world, and looking for an excuse to vent his anger. So when Kendall's daughter is molested and he's content to let the police do their job in finding the molester, Lamar acts as The Corrupter by claiming Detective Douglas is a Category Traitor who can't be trusted, and goads Kendall into joining him and David in enacting vigilante justice. When they go through with it, whereas Kendall and David are content with just beating him up, Lamar goes back and proceeds to beat him within an inch of his life, requiring they pull him off the man. Kendall later calls Lamar out on this, saying he's just looking for a reason to lash out at people, and only used what happened to his daughter as an excuse. When Lamar suspects Kendall might confess to Detective Douglas what actually happened, he convinces David to throw Kendall under the bus, and when David expresses guilt for both Kendall and his daughter, Lamar tells him to stop worrying about them and worry about him.

     Tropes In "Robyn's Story" 
  • Ambiguously Bi: Jamie insists he really loves his wife Natalie, though he also secretly dates gay drag queen Robyn. Both of them assume he's just gay and in denial, but it isn't clear if Jamie's also genuinely attracted to her.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: Jamie is attracted to men but firmly in the closet about it. He insults Robyn over being an openly gay drag queen, despite also sleeping with him.
  • Clear My Name: Robyn is wrongly accused of accessory to murder, cospiracy to commit murder and obstruction of justice, having to prove he's innocent. The jury acquits him at the end.
  • Did You Actually Believe...?: A turn as Robyn proves their innocence by asking the jury if they honestly believe someone would dress up in an expensive outfit and nail job if they knew they'd be disposing of their lover's wife's dead body?
  • Drag Queen: Robyn performs drag acts quite often, with many fellow drag queens shown too.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: Jamie, a closeted man with a conventional look, dates flamboyant gay drag queen Robyn.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Facts is facts."
  • No Bisexuals: Jamie is assumed to be just gay and in denial, despite insisting that he really loves his wife Natalie. Both she and Robyn believe otherwise, which is left ambiguous.
  • Rape and Switch: Discussed as it turns out Jamie was sexually abused as a child, which Robyn suspects made him think it caused his attraction to men. He points out this isn't true; Jamie would have felt this way regardless.
  • Secret Relationship: Jamie sees Robyn, but only secretly since he's very much closeted.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: After the rough endings of the last few episodes, this one is brighter as Kevin/Robyn convinces the jury they had nothing to do with Jamie killing his wife, is acquitted and seen fully embracing the Robyn persona in a big club performance before an adoring crowd.
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: Robyn performs regularly at a night club as a draq queen with many other queens.

     Tropes in "Naataanii's Story" 
  • Agent Provocateur: Derrick is coerced to act as one toward his friends by his FBI handler, the threat of serving twenty years in prison hanging over his head. With his suggestion and plan, they decided sabotaging the mill would be a good idea, all so the FBI can get them for this. Later, Naataani gets the same offer from the agent-if he helps them, their charges will be dropped. He refuses.
  • Caught on Tape: Just as it looks like the group is going to jail the Navaho bailiff reveals she recorded the FBI agent bragging about getting that guard to give false testimony on Derrick being armed, allowing the entire case to be thrown out.
  • Felony Murder: Naataani, Chase and Shandiin face a murder charge for Derrick (supposedly) being shot by the FBI in self-defense, as any homicide resulting from the prior felonies they committed counts. The agent smugly explains this to Naataani when the pair are alone. Thankfully, it gets exposed as the bailiff recorded him admitting this.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Right as Derrick was set to become The Atoner for acting as The Stool Pigeon, surrendering himself alongside his friends so as to avoid any bloodshed, he's mercilessly gunned down by his ex-handler so as to frame his friends for murder. They honor him posthumously by asking others to not let what happened to him happen to the rest of their people.
  • Killer Cop: The FBI agent who handles Derrick murders him after the activists surrender so he can frame them for Felony Murder.
  • The Stool Pigeon: Derrick is an FBI informant, it turns out. He had been coerced into this with the threat of doing twenty years in prison.

    Tropes in "Brenda's Story" 
  • Rape and Revenge: Tess takes it upon herself to avenge Brenda's rape (and by extension hers) through lighting Brian on fire after Brenda voiced a fantasy of this online. It gets Brenda charged as it's believed she was involved, but the jury acquits her, though Tess is sent to prison.
  • Rape as Backstory: Tess reveals that she was also raped in the past, sympathizing with Brenda as a result. It helps later inspire her to light Brenda's rapist on fire for revenge.
  • Slut-Shaming: After learning Brenda's promiscuous history, and that she'd had consensual sex with her rapist previously, the prosecutor on her case decides to not charge him as he says she'd make a bad victim. Brenda angrily claims he's bought into this. Though he denies the accusation, it's clear that at least he thinks enough jurors will that they couldn't obtain a conviction.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Tess encourages multiple toxic behaviors in Brenda in the name of "recovery", something that Brenda's friend Chadwick notices and tries to stop. Tess proceeds to alienate Chadwick from Brenda, claiming he's just as bad as their rapists, causing him to wash his hands of Brenda until the trial itself. Many of the things Brenda did cause of Tess end up serving to incriminate her as an accomplice of Tess's during the trial itself.

    Tropes in "Laura's Story" 
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Joanna is one with a large number of followers who claims children murdered in a mass shooting never existed, with the entire thing faked to seize people's guns. She also thinks that this is a global conspiracy, and that the people she thinks are involved sexually abuse their children too.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil:
    • Laura is a firm believer in the idea that the "truth" is objective and can't be argued against, and that by speaking out against Joanna and her group on what she and her family have suffered after they lost their son, they'll be able to see reason. Doing so just turns her family into a target however, Joanna rallying her group into seeing Laura as a prominent figure in the "conspiracy", getting their family doxed and forced to stay in a hotel, and someone even throwing stuff at their remaining sons head. Laura is in turn left befuddled that people refuse to accept the truth, and refuses to back down herself despite both her husband and son telling her not to.
    • A member of Joanna's group shows that she's not a bad person, it's just that she finds it easier to believe some conspiracy than the idea there are so many "sickos" out there willing to shoot up schools every other week.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: When Joanna, a firearms possession rights activist and owner, finds Jonah hiding in her closet, she lets her guard down due to thinking he's come to her for help, since she's convinced he's a sexually abused slave of Laura's, and that it's her "job" to help him. Her letting her guard down is what allows Jonah to reveal his own gun and shoot her dead.
  • Hope Spot: Eric seems to have finally gotten Laura to abandon her fruitless efforts to oppose Joanna's protestors and convinced her to have the family move to Baltimore, away from their current nightmare, appealing to her love for him and Jonah over her principles. Then Laura finds the handgun Eric had bought for protection after Jonah had been attacked. This causes the two of them to get into a shouting match that Jonah overhears, and drives him to take the gun and use it to kill Joanna.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Joanna and her group are fully convinced that none of the school shootings actually took place, even when presented with evidence to the contrary, brushing it off as doctored or "fake". One member gives a more sympathetic reasoning for doing this though, finding it easier to believe that the shootings were faked than dreading the idea of the world being filled with so many monsters willing to shoot up schools every other week.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Played for Drama with Joanna and her followers. Many of the "reasons" given for their refusal to believe the shootings were real instead of staged come from thoughts along these lines, like the fact the mother of one victim just happens to share the same name as a European reporter, that some of the victims were adopted and could "therefore" be crisis actors, or that the coroners office refuses to release autopsy reports, ignoring plenty of logical counterarguments such as breaking the One-Steve Limit, adoption certificates dating back long before the incident, or that coroners offices don't typically release autopsies to the general public. Any attempts at challenging their beliefs with physical evidence will lead to accusations the evidence was doctored and that the challengers are involved in the conspiracy itself.
  • Pet the Dog: Subverted. When Joanna finds Jonah hiding in her closet, she is initially sweet to him... because she thinks he's a slave of Laura's being sexually abused and as such has to save him, making clear it's more just her believing her own delusion than any genuine kindness.
  • Principles Zealot: Laura has two main principles that she is unbending towards: that there is an objective "truth" all people must accept, and disapproval of firearms, the latter in particular due to the death of her younger son, Liam, in a school shooting. She holds true to both these principles when confronting Joanna's group, and is flummoxed when neither end up changing their minds. Despite her actions however causing her family to get doxed, necessitating they leave their home, and Jonah to get assaulted, she refuses to waver on her beliefs, and is instead offended when Eric not only suggests she give up and they move to Baltimore, but also buys a handgun for protection. The only thing that can get her to drop her principles is her love for Jonah, which causes her to falsely confess to killing Joanna to protect him, even refusing her attorney's idea to claim self-defense in favor of taking a plea since doing so would require Jonah take the stand.
  • Taking the Heat: Laura confesses to killing Joanna rather than let her remaining son take the blame for it. It's hinted the D.A. suspects the truth but can't prove it, so they're bound to accept her plea for a lesser sentence.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: After the family is doxed and Jonah is assaulted while bike riding home, Eric applies for a firearm carrying license and buys a handgun, keeping it in a lockbox inside the closet of the hotel they're staying at. Jonah however found it and, already spiraling from the overall situation and seeing his parents arguing, takes and uses it to kill Joanna.

    Tropes in "Jack's Story" 
  • Child by Rape: Clara became pregnant as a result of her stepfather raping her, it turns out.
  • False Rape Accusation: Clara falsely says Jack had sex with her multiple times, which is statutory rape as she was underage, and had gotten her pregnant, with her abortion (which he'd helped her get) really being to cover this up. Her stepfather, who had actually raped and impregnated Clara, encouraged her to keep up the false story. She recants prior to the trial concluding, admitting Jack didn't do it and that her stepfather did.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Clara has to leave Texas for her abortion because in Texas it's banned. Jack drives her to New Mexico for abortion pills at a clinic there. Britney, his fiancée, reveals her mother was pregnant while a teenager with her and almost had an abortion before being talked out of this by a stranger. She's against abortion and not at all happy with him aiding Clara as a result. The narrative though is very sympathetic to Clara, particularly since she's pregnant due to rape and was so distraught she'd nearly killed herself over the fact.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Jack stops Clara just as she tries to hang herself, coming Just in Time.
  • Mama Bear: Clara's mother didn't realize that her stepfather was raping her. When she does, her mom instantly turns on him and physically places herself in front of Clara, saying he can never come near them ever again in a protectively hostile manner.

    Tropes in "Esme's Story" 
  • Gone Horribly Right: Aaliyah catfishes a member of the Neo-Nazi group believed to be tied to the attack at the Flea Market, using Esme as her cover identity to try and find out who ran over their friend, and has Esme go to a single meeting with a member that responds. After Esme learns that the group has all but doxed her and her attempt to report them to the police fails, she goes undercover and is nearly beaten to death by their leader, managing to steal the car used only for it to have a bomb inside. This pushes Esme across the Despair Event Horizon, causing her to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, all while Aaliyah can only fruitlessly beg Esme to come home. Esme manages to kill Shaggy and Ancel, and is found guilty of first-degree murder.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: Shaggy is disgusted on realizing that Esme's a lesbian, and (even worse in his mind), her girlfriend Aaliyah is black, denouncing her for this (he's a militant Neo-Nazi).
  • Police Are Useless: Esme does try to report what she's learned to the police, but the detective who she had spoken to won't even investigate her lead (this seems unlikely, particularly with a high-profile case).
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: Esme infiltrates a White Supremacist Neo-Nazi group after their leader, Shaggy, runs over one of their friends. Shaggy espouses rhetoric about "his people" being run out of the nation and treated as terrorists while people of color are "taking over", and tries to justify himself to his followers by saying he has no issues with people of color, just so long as they stay in their home nations. They all have a grungy appearance, and appear to come from rural, poor backgrounds like Esme.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The incident which sparks the plot is clearly based on the vehicular murder where Neo-Nazi James Alex Fields, Jr. used his car to ram protesters against the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which injured protester Heather Hayer fatally. Here, the victim is a black man (who survives) however, with the incident occurring in New York City.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Esme did murder Shaggy and Ancel, though since they're Neo-Nazi terrorists, no one is likely to really care.

    Tropes in "Jiro's Story" 
  • Abuse Mistake: Invoked by Leon, when he finds Jiro having come across Osamu tied up. He immediately says that whatever Jiro is thinking, it's wrong, but it's readily apparent that Leon had been the one abusing Osamu, having tied him up and beaten him severely. Jiro, not willing to listen to such obvious bullshit, instead proceeds to beat the shit out of Leon before taking Osamu and leaving.
  • Arrested for Heroism: Jiro is facing charges of assault, kidnapping, and negligence, all of which is related to his rescuing Osamu from the abusive center he was at, attacking the caretaker that had been abusing him, and being briefly distracted by the police officers looking to arrest him on the first two charges allowing Osamu to fall in the pool and nearly drown.
  • Bleak Abyss Retirement Home: Special needs center variant. The center that Osamu is being cared for at has been physically abusing him, tying him to his bed and beating him. When Jiro finds out, he attacks the caretaker responsible and takes Osamu out of there and back to his home. The center files assault and kidnapping charges against Jiro, and likely would have taken Osamu back had Jiro not taken a plea bargain in exchange for Osamu being allowed to live with his family.
  • Foreshadowing: Whenever Osamu mentions the "bad guy", the person Jiro suspects he's talking about, Kyle, is never actually in the room. Leon however is, and is the actual "bad guy" Osamu is talking about.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Jiro and his family are Japanese, and regularly speak it when talking to Osamu, who is implied to only speak Japanese due to his handicap, even if he can understand English.
  • In-Series Nickname: Jiro regularly refers to Osamu as "Sam" for short. Jiro's daughter, Sunny, calls him "Ojisan", which can translate to "Uncle".
  • Jerkass: Videla, a player for a Sacramento football club Jiro works with, is confrontational, ableistic, and doesn't care about what he puts Jiro through when he has to do damage control for the team. He also has his agent get Jiro suspended after he confronts him in front of the team about his behavior, with it said he'll be all but fired unless Jiro attends sensitivity training, the very thing Jiro was lecturing Videla about needing to attend. The irony of which is not lost on Jiro, and only serves to infuriate him.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Inverted, as Jiro is Osamu's younger brother. Jiro is very protective of Osamu due to Osamu suffering brain damage when he was nine via a car accident, leaving him mentally handicapped, and gets panicked when he finds bruises on Osamu that none of the staff caring for him noticed, and instead accused him of being paranoid. So when he finds out the caretakers themselves are the ones abusing him, he attacks the caretaker and illegally takes Osamu out of the center, resulting in criminal charges.
  • Manchild: Osamu is an adult and acts much younger than his nieces, requiring he be cared for. This is due to him having suffered brain damage from a car accident when he was nine, leaving him mentally handicapped and officially considered an invalid.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: When Jiro finds Osamu, tied to a bed and heavily beaten, he tries to take Osamu back home, only to be stopped by Leon, Osamu's abuser. Fed up with Leon's continual lies and horrific treatment of Osamu, Jiro beats the ever loving crap out of Leon, and leaves him on the floor a bloody mess while he gets Osamu away from there. This is what results in Jiro getting an Assault charge, as Jiro left him severely injured, bleeding out on the ground, and near the point of death. While Leon did survive, the severity of his injuries is the biggest charge against Jiro in court.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Kyle, Osamu's neighbor in the center he's at, is very territorial and aggressive, has a sealed criminal record, and acts like a little kid overall. When Jiro accuses him of having stolen Osamu's tablet, he's just standing in his room tossing a ball, repeatedly saying "This is my room, what's in it is mine.", and tries to grab Jiro when he starts digging through Kyle's things to find the tablet, reminiscent of a little kid getting angry when someone goes through their stuff, and saying "finders keepers" whenever they take something.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Jiro is shown to be more than justified in his belief the caretakers aren't taking his concerns about Kyle seriously, especially after learning Kyle has a criminal record and is a possible danger to Osamu. Where he was wrong though was that Kyle was only guilty of taking Osamu's tablet. Osamu's actual abuser was the caretakers themselves, specifically Leon, and were trying to cover up their abuse by making it look like Osamu was the problematic one and using Kyle as a scapegoat.
  • Survivor's Guilt: Part of the reason Jiro is so protective of Osamu is this. Both Jiro and Osamu were in the car when it was t-boned, but while Osamu suffered brain damage and was left mentally handicapped, Jiro escaped with only two broken ribs. Jiro laments how it was by pure chance that the car was hit on Osamu's side, how Osamu should be the one living the life Jiro lives, and that it could have just as easily been Jiro who was handicapped, so he protects Osamu partly out of guilt that he escaped relatively unscathed while Osamu lost everything.

    Tropes in "Morgan's Story" 
  • Adaptational Heroism: A very mild example. However, in the original show's episode "Alison's Story" this is based on, the people responsible for framing the lead are worse than here. The husband in the original raped her, rather than attempting to as here and his father (not brother) showed no problem with framing her.
  • Anti-Villain: Eric, Jason's younger cop brother. He's not a bad person, and is in fact a normally morally upstanding individual. As his wife Regina points out though, his Fatal Flaw is his devotion towards Jason, who can pray on that devotion to make him do things he'd normally never do, namely framing Morgan for a crime she didn't commit, and then berating him when he starts expressing his issues doing so anymore.
  • Attempted Rape: Jason tries to rape Morgan after learning she's begun seeing another man (and had asked for a divorce). Thankfully, she throws him off.
  • Conviction by Contradiction: Flaco's testimony is exposed as lies by the fact he couldn't even name what color of car Morgan drives, despite supposedly buying drugs from her every week for a long time. It proves he's committed perjury, since they neglected that small detail.
  • Entitled Bastard: As Morgan herself puts it, Jason always gets what he wants, so when Morgan denies him what he wants by threatening divorce and suing for full custody of their child, Ari, he goes out of his way to try and ruin her. First he tries to take full custody of Ari from her, but as his lawyer tried to warn him, the judge wouldn't agree to his sudden 180 nor would they agree with his claim he can just hire people to look after Ari while he works 70 hours a week. So he then has his cop brother Eric frame Morgan for drug dealing so that she'd be sent to prison and Ari would have to go with him, and when Eric understandably refuses to do so, he preys on Eric's devotion to family to get him to help anyway. Even after his scheme fails and Eric is arrested, he continues to stalk them, making clear he's not done. As he himself puts it when Morgan confronts him in the elevator:
    Morgan: Why are you doing this?
    Jason: Because I can.
    Morgan: What does that even mean?
    Jason: It means I always get what I want. Always have. You should know that better than anyone.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Flaco, Eric's seedy informant who's a criminal, comments how it's "cold" that Jason is framing Morgan on drug dealing charges with their help.
  • Face Palm: Jason does this after seeing Flaco's testimony fall apart on cross-examination by Morgan's lawyer. In short order, the judge dismisses all the charges.
  • Jerkass: Jason is a rich asshole who's uninterested in really doing anything with his son or wife at first. He seeks sole custody when they get divorced simply to spite her as a power play. When that fails, he has his cop brother frame her on drug dealing charges, and then threatens to drag him down with him after he starts getting second thoughts.
  • Never My Fault: Jason refuses to see himself as at fault in any way for his relationship with Morgan failing, including the fact he not only had an affair first, but had tried to rape Morgan in a drunken stupor.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: Morgan begins dating Kashir after growing very unhappy with Jason, her very cold husband. As he's a colossal jerkass who'd cheated on her in the past, it's hard not to sympathize. Later, he proves himself even worse by having her framed on drug dealing charges when they get divorced.
  • Villain Protagonist: The episode focuses just as much on Jason's perspective as it does on Morgan's, including Jason's plans to try and ruin Morgan's life out of spite.

     Tropes In "Samir's Story" 
  • Bullying a Dragon: Josh subjects Samir to a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown out of rage after Alice declares her wanting nothing to do with either of them, and when Alice refuses to let him back in the house, tries to goad Samir out of his car with toxic masculinity in the hopes of continuing the beatdown. Samir however has fully reached his Rage Breaking Point, and instead of simply fleeing like he intended to, kills Josh by ramming him with his car.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Deconstructed. Samir is, on the surface, a very quiet and docile person, and tries to charm Alice with kindness and flashy displays. He has a lot of repressed anger however, and when intoxicated, reveals a lot of hate-filled beliefs about women wanting jerks instead of nice guys like him, a belief commonly held by "incels". When he learns that Alice's current boyfriend, Josh, is married and using her as a mistress, he blackmails Josh into breaking up with her, then presents himself to Alice as different from the people she normally falls for. After she breaks up with him though and he gets a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown by Josh, Samir reaches his Rage Breaking Point and runs Josh over, killing him.
  • Education Mama: Samir's mother wants the best for Samir, and inadvertently pressures him into studying for the MCAD so he can be a doctor like his father. After Samir falls in love with Alice though and begins abandoning his aspirations of doctorhood, he has to lie to his mother so as to not disappoint her, while also repressing anger over failing to meet her expectations. This culmininates in a fight between the two when Thomas reveals Samir's lies, with Samir's mother decrying him a liar and a failure. As said fight is what prompted him to go to Alice's and kill Josh, his mother blames herself for how Samir ended up, hating that she put so much pressure on him and saying she ruined his life.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Samir has a lot of repressed rage stemming from his crappy job, poor dating life, struggling to live up to the expectations of his mother, repeatedly failing the MCAD, and what is heavily implied to be traumatic memories stemming from his time as a Syrian refugee. While he normally keeps a tighter grip on it, as he grows more obsessed with Alice, his grip loosens and loosens, culminating in his running over Josh after being subjected to a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • Positive Friend Influence: Samir's coworker, Thomas, invokes this when he tries to be a good friend and a sympathetic shoulder for Samir whenever he needs one, but fails to after Samir becomes obsessed with Alice and begins living a lie. His telling Samir's mother out of worry about the lies he's been telling her sparks the argument between him and his mother, and leads to Samir going to Alice's house and killing Josh. While he's called by the prosecution to testify against Samir, it's clear Thomas is uncomfortable about bad mouthing Samir and tries using Exact Words so Samir isn't painted in too bad a light.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Samir's journey throughout the episode sees him turn from a generally mild Dogged Nice Guy into an anger-filled yandere obsessed with Alice.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Samir becomes infatuated with Alice the moment he first sees her. He slowly becomes more and more obsessed with her, breaking into her phone, blackmailing her boyfriend into breaking up with her, lying about his profession so as to go out with her, and stealing money from his mother to appear richer than he is.

     Tropes In "Jessie's Story" 
  • Breather Episode: Compared to previous episodes, which end with a child being stalked by his father and a man murdering another man with his car, this episode has a much lighter ending.
  • Dark Secret: Kara is ultimately hiding one from everyone and goes to great lengths to hide it, falsifying documents from a sperm lab and even attempting to forbid Jessie from seeing Will when it looks like they're getting too close. Said secret is that Jessie and Will are half-siblings, with Jessie's biological father being Dominic, not a sperm donor. When Dominic learns of this after Kara's lawyer advises telling the truth to avoid Jessie going to jail, Dominic instead offers to represent them so as to avoid his wife Andrea learning the truth, but is left with no choice when Will reveals he found out and he and Jessie confront them on it.
  • Deceptive Legacy: Jessie's mother lied to her about her paternity her whole life it turns out. She wasn't conceived due to a sperm donation, but a one night stand her mom had, and her father is their next door neighbor Dominic.
  • Gene Hunting: Jessie is determined find out about her birth father, in spite of her mom opposing this. Her effort sparks the plot, since she burglarizes the clinic which provided the sperm donation for conceiving her. It turns out the sperm donation was a lie, while she'd really been fathered by the next door neighbor.
  • It's All About Me: Downplayed. Kara genuinely loves her daughter Jessie, but she wants to be all Jessie needs, and doesn't like how she keeps trying to find out about her biological father. When confronted about lying to everyone about Dominic being Jessie's father, she goes into a rant about how she wanted Jessie to have a normal childhood, but also didn't want to break up Dominic and Andrea's marriage, but wanted Jessie to be Like Brother and Sister with Will and Fern while maintaining her friendship with Andrea, but would rather let her friendship die than be forced to acknowledge any guilt about the idea Jessie's existence is a betrayal to Andrea. When Jessie and Will get close though but not in the way Kara wanted, she has a meltdown and tries forbidding them from interacting, and as Jessie later confronts her on, Kara cared more about keeping a secret and feeling good about herself than she did about how Jessie actually felt and the danger it put her biological family in.
  • Karma Houdini: Kara faces no consequences for lying to her daughter and neighbor for years about their relationship, and Dominic faces no consequences for cheating on Andrea.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Kara had been told she's infertile and might not ever be able to have children. She got pregnant due to a one night stand without meaning to. As she wanted a baby very much, she leapt at the chance and made up a story (as the father is her married neighbor), claiming the conception was by sperm donation.
  • My Beloved Smother: Kara is very overprotective of Jessie, and the moment it looks like Jessie wants to know who her father is via a DNA test, she has a breakdown in front of her and guilt trips Jessie into discarding the test, creates a false donor profile to try and trick Jessie into being content, then later has a meltdown when it looks like Jessie is getting too close to the neighbor's son Will. It's revealed this stems from Jessie being Will's half-sister after Kara had a drunken one-night-stand with Will's father Dominic, a secret she kept from everyone out of fear that Dominic would sue for custody and take Jessie from her, when the thing Kara wanted more than anything was to be a mother.
  • One-Night-Stand Pregnancy: Kara got pregnant by having sex with Dominic once while they were drunk. She deliberately refrained from telling Dominic out of fear he'd take Jessie from her, so he was just as in the dark as everyone else.
  • Surprise Incest: It turns out this is why Kara was so resistant to Jessie and Will growing close, as he's actually her half-brother. Kara obviously feared the two of them might have sex while unaware about this.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: So far, the most upbeat ending of the entire series: Jessie comes clean on the entire story to the judge who, rather than being harsh, sentences her to six months probation. Jessie and Will accept themselves as siblings to forget their romance, Fern enjoys having a new sister, Kara talks Andrea into staying and the episode ends with this newly bonded family spending an evening with dinner and games.

     Tropes In "Billy's Story" 
  • Murder by Inaction: After finding Leo overdosed on the couch, Anne hesitates in giving narcan and eventually destroys the needle. Billy takes the blame and gets convicted as a result.