Follow TV Tropes


Series / Alex Rider (2020)

Go To

When English teenager Alex Rider (Otto Farrant) discovers his uncle Ian was not in fact a banker but a secret agent killed as a result of his investigations, his life is turned upside down. He is recruited by his uncle's employers to assist in a mission revolving around a mysterious boarding school for troubled teenagers in the French Alps, known as Point Blanc.

Alex Rider (2020) is a live action television series based on the Alex Rider books by Anthony Horowitznote . The first season is based primarily on the second book, Point Blanc, incorporating elements from the first book, Stormbreaker.

The first season is available in the UK on Prime Video. The series became available in the US on Freevee in November 2020. Season two was released in December 2021, and uses the plot of the fourth book, Eagle Strike. A third (and final) season, based on the fifth book, Scorpia, premiered on 4 April 2024.

(Please note that this page has been heavily spoilered due to the suspense-heavy plot.)

Alex Rider provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 
    General Tropes 
  • Action Survivor: Kyra, who doesn't have much in the way of fighting skills, but over three seasons has developed a knack for escaping the various dangerous situations her friendship with Alex puts her in.
  • Adaptational Badass: Alex, in a way. Instead of being bullied into going undercover, he's just about decided to do it to find out who killed his uncle when the bullying starts. He also argues his way into joining the rescue mission back into Point Blanc, rather than being tricked into going back.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • Tom Harris is not introduced until the fifth book. Here, he's introduced straight away as Alex's best friend.
    • The books also don't mention Scorpia until the fourth installment, with them appearing in the fifth, although with hindsight their influence is visible as far back as Stormbreaker. The season 1 finale reveals them as Yassen's employers.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • Dr Grief's name is spelt "Greif" in the series. It's also pronounced to rhyme with "rife" rather than "reef".
    • Sabina and Edward Pleasure have their last name changed to Pleasance, perhaps after Donald Pleasence's Blofeld. It also makes the former sound a lot less like a Bond Girl.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Alan Blunt is kinder and more interested in Alex's well being than his book counterpart. The one in the book regularly disregards his mental and physical health for the supposed greater good.
    • While the Wolf in the books initially bullied Alex and even tried to get him kicked out of SAS training with them only becoming friendly after he gains some respect for Alex, here he is clearly concerned about the prospect of Alex being used in a MI6 operation and pulls a What the Hell, Hero? on Mrs. Jones after being ordered to perform their test on him and realising he's not going through with it willingly.
    • In the book version of Eagle Strike, Charlie Roper was a Turncoat NSA cryptographer who sold out the U.S. nuclear codes to Cray. Here, he's Craystar's publicist and a straight-up good guy, being an old friend of Ed Pleasance who provided him with information, and later helps Alex infiltrate the Feathered Serpent 2 launch. His fate (getting killed by Cray) is the same, but in this case it's because he wanted nothing to do with the Evil Plan, rather than getting Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves.
    • Damien Cray himself, for one primary reason. He's still a psychopath whose plan is to start a nuclear war, but, in the series, the "Feathered Serpent 2" game is actually crucial to the plot. In the books Cray's video game company was just a cover, and as such became one long exercise in sadism, with Cray subjecting innocent victims to a life sized mock up of the game to record their reactions and use them to improve the game's realism. As such, the series' version of Cray comes off as a bit less Ax-Crazy.
    • Max Grendel makes an effort to talk Julia out of going through with Invisible Sword on the scale of violence that she has planned rather than merely deciding to quit to avoid personally dirtying his hands.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Downplayed in both cases.
    • David Friend is shown to be a Corrupt Corporate Executive who was involved in some shady dealings and nearly jailed for fraud. In the books, there was no indication of this, but it's a pretty good explaination as to why Alan Blunt has so much leverage over him.
    • Julia Rothman was always a vile villainess happy to murder untold thousands for the sake of her personal power and wealth, but the series makes her notably worse — Invisible Sword is her personal revenge for getting tricked by John Rider and the Department, rather than a means for Scorpia to fulfil a client's wishes, and devised collectively with Rothman merely attached as overseer.
  • Affectionate Nickname: "Spy Boy" is Kyra's for Alex.
  • Age Lift: Only a small one, but in the books Alex is 14 and in Year 10 of the English school system. He seems definitely older in the show- going to parties and drinking, Tom plausibly being invited to Roscoe's company, and that Otto Farant was 23 at the time of filming, definitely seem to place Alex at an older age- likely around 16. This also makes Jack's feelings that her job is increasingly redundant stronger.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • A downplayed variant is present in Season 2 with Alex as Archie, Sabina being the more "normal" Betty to Kyra's snarky, troubled Veronica. The ending leaves things rather ambiguous with both of them.
    • Season 3 looks as though it's going to repeat this pattern but ends up subverting it. When Alex arrives at Malogosto, Syl is introduced with a Workout Fanservice scene and is seemingly set up as the Veronica to Kyra's Betty. But while he is closer to her than the other trainees, there is little to no romantic tension between the pair (not helped by her subjecting him to Deadly Hazing), while Alex and Kyra eventually get a Relationship Upgrade in Episode 7.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Jack is somewhat skeptical of Alex's explanation that the Immigration police and Child Services agents who turned up on their doorstep were the result of a "misunderstanding", cleared up with Blunt's help even though he's supposed to be a banker. Tom also smells a rat when Alex blows off Ayisha due to "illness" and confronts Jack for the truth.
      Jack: Police at the door, that's a hell of a misunderstanding.
    • When an Old Soldier asks Crawley where he was deployed, the Department agent responds that he "just sits behind a desk". Yeah, right...
    • Alex, after getting caught by Nile eavesdropping on Julia Rothman's conversation with Luka Kovacic, claims he was just going to the bathroom — despite having to bypass a guarded door and climb a flight of stairs to get to where he is. Neither party is buying it.
  • Canon Foreigner:
  • Casting Gag:
    • Mrs. Jones has an office space with a lot of windows, has multiple interrogations of a colleague over another's death, and reports to an older man with not much of a sense of humour? Someone on the production team has been watching Line of Duty. (Yes, of course Mrs Jones is adapted from source material 7 years older than Line of Duty, but with Vicky McClure in the role, the parallels are hard to miss.)
    • Damian Cray is played by Toby Stephens, making him an ex-Bond Villain playing an expy of a Bond Villain.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Tom's phone goes on quite the journey. It's confiscated in the first episode, and Alex gets caught stealing it back. This gets it re-confiscated by Ian Rider and gives Alex a way to find his car when he doesn't believe the official story of how his uncle died and goes investigating. Tom is left without a phone at inconvenient moments until Alex demands that it be returned, which is good news because it allows Tom to take a selfie outside the Roscoe building, thus leaving a social media trail when the Roscoe duplicate takes him prisoner. It's also bad news, because Roscoe finds evidence on it that blows Alex's cover. Finally, Duplicate!Alex uses it to send Real!Alex an I Have Your Wife video when he takes Tom hostage.
      Tom:I'm actually using an actual landline, can you believe that?
    • In Season 2, this happens to the steel washer from Point Blanc, which Alex used to prevent the door locking at night. When Alex meets up with Kyra again, he shows it to her to prove that he's not forgotten about her. Later, she's able to use it as a conductor to hack the door of an electronically-locked cell she and Alex are being held in in Cray's base.
    • Smithers' phone, which Kyra stole from him at the end of Season 2, is used to set up the plot of Season 3 by providing a lead on the "Widow" that leads Alex and co. to Malta.
    • Subverted in a way in the first episode of Season 3 — before Alex leaves for the art show, Kyra gives him a lockpick. It's never actually used on any locks, but he does use it to stab Nile in the hand, allowing him to escape.
  • Cliffhanger: Most episodes end on one.
    • Episode 1: Alex realises that Blunt won't let him go that easily and agrees to the mission. He goes outside and gets into a waiting car, which drives away as Jack looks on, confused and scared.
    • Episode 4: Stellenbosch comes in for a chat in Alex's room. After she goes, Alex starts getting ready for bed, only to find he can't finish cleaning his teeth. He drops his brush into the sink and falls to the floor, looking increasingly scared, before finally passing out. People in surgical gowns enter his room and he's strapped to a gurney, being wheeled away down a corridor.
    • Episode 5: James has vanished, and Alex and Kyra sneak into the forbidden second floor to find answers. There, they find an exact duplicate of the school, complete with their own rooms reproduced down to the last detail. Worse, they discover their rooms have hidden cameras. They narrowly miss being seen as Dr. Greif, Eva Stellenbosch and Dr Baxter arrive and begin a conversation that ends with Dr Baxter being stabbed. Greif and Stellenbosch then talk more, revealing to Alex and Kyra that Kyra will be next to disappear.
    • Episode 6: Alex has just sledded to freedom on a modified ironing board. After evading his pursuers, he finds himself on a mountain road, stops to get his bearings... and is promptly hit by a snowplough. As he lies unconscious on the road, we hear Kyra's voice over the radio
    • Episode 7: The Special Forces team have just stormed Point Blanc, rescued the hostages and taken Dr. Greif and the remaining duplicates prisoner. Alex, however, got separated and was nearly killed by Stellenbosch before she was killed by an explosion he just barely survived. Alex is pulled out of the rubble and put on a helicopter home. But after they've gone, someone emerges from the rubble of Point Blanc. Someone who looks exactly like Alex...
    • Episode 14: Cray has just shot dead Charlie Roper, and is holding Alex and Kyra at gunpoint in his base.
    • Episode 15: Cray is holding Sabina hostage, and if Alex doesn't do what he wants (namely, return a stolen MacGuffin), she'll die.
  • Composite Character: Dr. Greif takes some elements from Herod Sayle, the Big Bad of the first entry in the Alex Rider novels, Stormbreaker, due to the series not adapting that book: he is the one Ian Ryder is investigating that results in Ian getting killed by Yassen Gregorovitch and Alex being forcibly drafted to take his uncle's place. Also like Sayle, Greif is killed by Gregorovitch to tie up loose ends for the organization the latter works for, SCORPIA, after Greif's plan had failed.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Of all the students who could have brushed past Yassen Gregorovitch when he goes to Brookland, it's Tom, one of the two boys in the photo Yassen took from Wilby's body. Who the teacher then calls after using his full name.
    • A photo showing Ed Pleasance and Charlie Roper together just happens to be on display in the former's home, and Alex somehow recognises his face while Smithers is quickly scrolling through a selection of Craystar employees.
    • Naturally, Cray had to show up while Alex and Kyra were snooping around his Amsterdam base. If he'd been half an hour later, the pair would have gotten away scot-free.
  • Darker and Edgier: This adaptation is grittier than the books, dialing back on the Moore-era James Bond elements. For example, Alex's only gadget is a phone disguised as a music player, which doesn't even work, and many of the more theatrical set-pieces (such as the descending hotel room in Point Blanc as well as the bullfight and Cray's Death Traps in Eagle Strike) are also removed. Alex himself is also much less of a boy scout than the book version, sneaking off to parties and drinking... And he's already suffering from PTSD as of Season 2.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Alex is frequently ready with a sassy comeback.
    • Kyra is no slouch either.
    Kyra: You're like a ninja. A really, really bad one.
  • Death by Adaptation: Duplicate!Alex is shot by Yassen. Presumably no one's planning to adapt as far as Scorpia Rising, as he's an instrumental part of that book's plot, and he also has a fairly important, albeit posthumous, role in Nightshade.
  • Delivery Guy Infiltration:
    • In Season 2, Yassen disguises himself as an electrician to plant a bomb in Ed Pleasance's house.
    • Tom suggests dressing Alex as a waiter to infiltrate Rothman's art show in reference to the original book, but this turns out to be redundant when you've got Hollywood Hacking on your side.
    • How Alex manages to infiltrate Mrs. Jones' secure apartment building in Season 3, with Yassen hacking the internal phone lines to confirm the delivery was "genuine" and his gun hidden amidst the food.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: A bit of a recurring theme for Alex. In Season 1, he's interested in Ayisha, a girl at his school, but Duplicate!Alex says something horrible/creepy to her putting an end to that relationship before it's even begun. While in Season 2, Sabina ends up thinking that he's pretending to be a spy in order to get close to her. While she's proven wrong, and they share an Almost Kiss, she tells him he can't be around her for a while as her father's still recovering from his injuries. There's a bit of Ship Tease with Kyra too, but it never goes beyond that until they get a Relationship Upgrade in Episode 7 of Season 3.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation:
  • Does Not Like Spam:
    • After finding out from Jack that Alex has been recruited as a spy, Tom visits him at the Friend estate under cover of delivering a pizza. With anchovies.
      Alex: I hate anchovies.
      Tom: They're all you deserve!
      Alex: I'm sorry. I completely deserved the anchovies.
      Tom: You know I hate anchovies too, right? I have to suffer, because you're a dick.
    • This returns as a Brick Joke in Season 2 — Smoking Mirror orders a bunch of pizzas to Alex's house as part of his ploy to to show that he knows everything about Alex... And they happen to have anchovies on them.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Kyra, with overtones of punk. Her look is heavily based on Lisbeth Salander and is clearly meant to contrast with blond, tan, clean-cut Alex.
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • The Department seem to just assume they've got all the Greif clones in custody. It doesn't occur to anyone to check for a duplicate of Alex...
    • In Season 2, Alan Blunt's driver somehow fails to notice Alex attaching Tom's GoPro to the grille of his Audi, when you'd assume any secret agent worth their salt would keep a very close eye out for vehicular sabotage or other, far more subtle, bugs. Nobody notices Alex swipe the camera back later, either.
  • Faking the Dead:
    • After Alex is hit by a snowplough during his escape, he's rushed to hospital. Eva Stellenbosch comes looking for him, just in time to see him dramatically flatline on the operating table. When she's gone, Alex looks up and says, "Did she buy it?"
    • In Season 3, after Alex gets captured by the Department after refusing to kill Mrs. Jones, Alan Blunt orders that a body bag should be seen loaded into an ambulance while a handcuffed Alex is loaded into a van, making it look to Scorpia as though his mission was successful and Jones is dead.
    • John Rider was shot by a sniper during the prisoner exchange with Scorpia, but he was wearing a Bulletproof Vest that allowed him to survive while ensuring Scorpia would be convinced of his death.
  • Friendly Enemy: True to the source material, Yassen has a soft spot for the Riders - just not one that will keep him from apologetically killing Ian, or from exposing Alex at Point Blanc... though he notably refuses to kill Alex himself, seemed to want to greet and talk to him, and later kills the final Greif clone before he can kill Alex. In Season Two, he lies to Cray and pretends that Alex is just some random kid, and proceeds to save his life twice in the finale, the second time by shooting his employer.
  • Gender Flip:
    • The SAS team Alex trains with in Stormbreaker are all men. Here, Snake and Eagle are women.
    • Three of the Point Blanc students are also female, as Dr Greif has somehow made three of his eight clones female.
    • Joe Byrne from the CIA is changed to Jo Byrne in the show.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: Rather than working for MI6 Special Operations as they do in the book, Alan Blunt, Mrs. Jones and Smithers are agents of "The Department". According to Blunt, it's a "specialised sub-division" of the SIS, while according to Yassen it's an entirely separate organisation. Whatever the case, there's no evidence that a Real Life counterpart exists, not that there ever would be.
  • Guile Hero:
    • Alex is very good at using the training his uncle quietly gave him to escape tricky situations, such as hiding in undergrowth so his pursuers run right past him. He figures out a way into Dr. Greif's office so Kyra can hack the security system by first using dark powder on the keypad to show which buttons were pressed, then deducing the combination from that, in one, from what he knows of Dr Greif. He also prevents his and Kyra's doors from locking by putting washers in the locking mechanism so they can sneak out and look around.
    • Kyra. She all but provides a page quote for this trope when she tells Alex and James they need to use their brains to escape Point Blanc (so their "Just head out onto the mountain and hope for the best" plan isn't it). When she decides she needs to escape but Alex wants to stay and find James, she heads off into the snow, leaving a nice clear trail, then quietly doubles back and rescues Alex after his cover is blown. She also escapes the safe house by stealing Crawley's security pass and successfully disappears.
    Kyra: No one's getting down off that mountain. We use our brains, not our muscles!
    • Smithers, when he tricks Duplicate!Parker into saying "motorbikes" so he can create a fake message to Dr Greif to make him relax his guard.
    Smithers: Great thing about "motorbikes", it gives you the X syllable without getting them to say "X-ray".
  • Handwave:
    • How are some of Dr. Greif's clones female? It's a simple bit of genetic engineering, apparently.
    • How did Scorpia disperse the Invisible Sword nanoparticles throughout the population of Bath? We never really see, and there's only a brief reference to the dispensers being scattered throughout public places. This is reflected when the transmitter is switched on, as not everyone in the city is affected.
    • Apparently, Scorpia's new incarnation was able to be dismantled just as quickly, as Julia Rothman left compromising files blowing the organisation wide open on her laptop, despite the fact that the other board members would have realised something was up once Invisible Sword failed and might have had a chance to get to hiding. However, Rothman was deranged and revenge-obsessed enough that it's possible to see her overlooking this.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Kyra. Sent to a school for problem children of the super-rich after a prank involving the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Played a major part in the escape from the school and the later rescue by adding a secret door combination to the security system. Does even more of this in Season 2, where she helps Alex escape from the Craystar London building, breaks into the Craystar Amsterdam building, hacks the Feathered Serpent 2 cartridge, removes all of Evelyn Anders' security, etc, etc...
  • Hollywood Silencers: This trope is Zig-Zagged throughout the series.
    • Played straight with Eagle's sniper rifle, which is capable of downing three Point Blanc guards with a single shot and yet makes next to no noise.
    • Averted with the rest of Wolf's squad, who wield supressed assault rifles that still make quite a racket.
    • Played straight once again with Cray and Yassen's silenced pistols in Season 2, which make practically no sound at all.
  • I Have Your Wife:
    • Alex's duplicate attacks Tom, breaking his arm, and threatens to kill him unless Alex comes to him for a showdown. He also plans to kill Ayisha and Jack.
    • Almost exactly the same thing happens at the climax of Season Two: Cray kidnaps Sabina, and threatens to kill her unless Alex returns the president's thumbprint which he needs to access the Air Force One communications centre.
  • It's Personal:
    • Mrs Jones' assessment of Blunt using Alex.
      Mrs Jones: No one gets one over on Alan Blunt, but someone did. They killed one of your agents. And your response to that is to use a grieving boy.
    • While Kyra's parents weren't exactly nice to her, she's very determined to get back at Scorpia for killing them.
    • Damien Cray wants to nuke the world's major drug-production centres because his older brother, who he was very close to, died of an overdose.
    • Alex is willing to join Scorpia solely to get revenge on the Department for (supposedly) killing his father.
    • It's made clear that despite Rothman insisting otherwise that the reason why she's specifically targeting Britain and involving Alex, is a long revenge scheme against both the Department and Alex's father John for using her as source of insider information, with Julia wanting to gain Alex's trust just to see the look on his face when she kills him as an extra bit of satisfaction.
  • Le Parkour:
    • The first of Alex's particular set of skills, showcased as he sneaks back into school to retrieve Tom's confiscated phone. Next up is lockpicking, as he opens the desk drawer.
    • Also used to retrieve some of Ed Pleasance's notes in the first episode of Season Two, which rather impresses Sabina.
  • The Man in Front of the Man:
    • Initially, you might get the impression that Yassen is working for Dr. Greif, but episode 5 reveals that, as in the books, he's an agent of an outside power (revealed in the finale to be Scorpia), and he can simply request permission to kill Greif and everyone connected to his Evil Plan from them once it becomes clear it has failed.
    • Naturally, the same arrangement is in place in Season 2, with Damien Cray hiring Yassen through Scorpia to act as a fixer for his own Evil Plan.
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: Scorpia, naturally — a mysterious, international organisation with resources and secrecy to rival the Department. They turn out to be Yassen's employers, with Dr. Greif and Damien Cray paying them to ensure their Evil Plans go smoothly, with the former being eliminated once he becomes a liability. In Season 3, Julia Rothman, one of the organisation's leaders, attempts to blackmail the British government with a horrific terrorist attack while recruiting Alex as a pawn.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • When the traitor Martin Wilby visits the house, Jack ends up telling him a lot while thinking he already knows. For example, that The Department are using Alex, which tells Wilby that he's Locked Out of the Loop and leads to Alex being compromised. He also grabs a photo of Alex and Tom, which puts both boys in danger.
    • The video Tom makes when he finds out Alex has been recruited as a spy, which the Roscoe duplicate finds on Tom's phone after taking Tom prisoner and which blows Alex's cover at Point Blanc.
    • Alex putting up a fight against the Department agent chasing Smoking Mirror (assuming he's some sort of Mook) allows the latter to escape — preventing him from getting caught and telling the Department about Damien Cray, which would have ended the season's plot right then and there.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Ian Rider, when he realises that Martin is a traitor, he's been led into a trap and he's about to die.
    • Alex, almost straight after, as he comes home from a party late at night to find police cars outside his house.
    • Alex, when Stellenbosch slaps him for talking back to Dr. Greif. The moment when it sinks in how very unsafe these people are is very clear on his face. And again a few minutes later, when he realises that his concealed mobile is being jammed.
    • Greif and Stellenbosch share one when they to see that Alex is no longer Strapped to an Operating Table where they left him.
    • Tom, when he realises that he's been drawn into a trap, and he and Alex are both in danger because of it.
    • When Smithers realises that not all the Greif clones are accounted for. And the missing one is a duplicate of Alex.
    • Dr. Greif gets another one when the car taking him away to somewhere that doesn't exist unexpectedly stalls... And he sees Yassen approaching the vehicle.
    • When Alex receives a video message from his duplicate, showing he has Tom hostage and will kill him if Alex doesn't show up.
    • Alex and Sabina, when the house she and her father are renting explodes into flames on the hill above them.
    • Kyra and Smithers also get one when they realise exactly what Cray's target is.
    • The arrogant Home Secretary is left virtually speechless after seeing "Invisible Sword" in action and putting an end to any notion that Scorpia is bluffing.
    • When Alex first realises he's been exposed to the Invisible Sword nanoparticles in the Season 3 finale.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: The goofy Tom is generally the most unserious character in the show and his friendship with Alex is often used to create moments of levity.
  • Product Placement:
    • The Department almost exclusively uses Audis for transport.
    • Kyra always uses an Alienware laptop for her hacking exploits.
    • There's also a close-up shot of Julia Rothman's BOSS ladies' watch in Episode 17.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • Ian Rider, not that it saves him. When he and Wilby go to meet an informant, Ian stops to get a gun.
      Wilby: We're not expecting trouble, are we?
      Ian: It's the unexpected trouble that worries me.
    • "Smoking Mirror" is a very careful man. He wires all his computers to self-destruct, has his own escape tunnel, uses multiple false identities, and destroys burner phones immediately after using them... Not that this saves him from Yassen, either.
  • Race Lift:
    • Jack, a redhead in the books, is now black as is Smithers.
    • Crawley described as blue-eyed in the books is played by the British-Asian actor Ace Bhatti.
    • The pupils of Point Blanc in the book are all described as white, either because of Greif's obsession with segregation or for practical reasons related to the cosmetic surgery (or both). Here, Kyra's mother's name suggests she's half-Chinese, while Sasha appears to be mixed-race.
    • Sabina is described as blue-eyed and is played by British-Indian actress Charithra Chandran.
    • Joe Byrne was white, while his counterpart Jo Byrne is black.
    • Nile is Asian, while in the books he was black (with vitiligo).
  • Sequel Hook:
    • Season 1:
      • Kyra has run off somewhere, and it's not clear what her plans are. Yassen Gregorovitch is working for Scorpia, who Blunt thought had been defeated long ago. Yassen has seen Alex, and seems to know who he is.
      • Jones has Alex identify Yassen Gregorivich from a photograph of him at a younger age. But alongside the younger image of Yassen is a blurred image of a blond man Yassen is smiling at, who Jones tells Alex is classified, and when she later shows the image to Blunt, she specifically mentions that Yassen likely recognized Alex because he looks like his father...
    • Season 2:
      • A badly injured Yassen has told Alex to "Find the widow... Find Scorpia." to learn about his father's Mysterious Past, and Jack has offered him and Tom a trip anywhere in the world. Guess where he's planning to go?
      • Kyra has stolen Smithers' phone, and all the classified intel it contains... And the first thing she does is search for Scorpia, suggesting that she still wants to bring them down for killing her parents.
    • Season 3:
      • Subverted, as the third season is the confirmed end of the series. Much like in the books, Alex is targeted with a sniper rifle, this time by Nile, but Yassen ends up killing him before he can take the shot. In the book, the Hook was provided by Alex getting shot and leaving his fate ambiguous.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Despite the series being Darker and Edgier as a whole, one notable change is Alex's complete unwillingness to kill. In the books, he ended up killing two of the dragons (Mr. Grin and Conrad) as well as Dr. Grief and his clone by the time of Scorpia, but in the series he doesn't kill anyone, making his refusal to kill anybody at Malagosto seem more consistent with his overall character.
  • Undying Loyalty: As per Villainous Rescue below, Yassen takes his life debt to John Rider very, very seriously, and has protected Alex on multiple occasions.
  • Villainous Rescue:
    • Yassen Gregorivich snipes the last clone when he points a gun at Alex.
    • He does the same again in Season Two, by shooting Damien Cray before he can do the same to Alex.
    • And yet again in Season Three, by killing Nile before he can snipe Alex outside the Department's base.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: Given that Yassen tells Alex to seek out Scorpia at the end of Season 2, before emerging at Scorpia's training facility to act as Alex's Evil Mentor once he does show up, it would appear that he was hoping to have a chance at recruiting him from the beginning.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Played with to hell and back by many different characters.
    • Alan Blunt is happy to force Alex to work for him and his actions result in everything else on this list.
    • The paramilitary group who kidnap Alex and interrogate him. They do subject him to some pretty unpleasant things, but are far from happy about it and have actually decided to call the whole thing off when Alex escapes anyway. It's a Secret Test of Character planned by Blunt.
    Snake: This is complete bullshit.
    Wolf: This is the job.
    Snake: Since when was our job torturing kids? This is not cool. And you know it.
    Eagle: What she said.
    • Dr. Greif and Eva Stellenbosch. Alex is shocked when Stellenbosch slaps him, hard enough to leave a mark, for talking back to Dr Greif, but that's not even the tip of the iceberg. The school is kidnapping its pupils and sending clones of Dr Greif, surgically altered to look like their targets, back home to inherit their fortunes. He's holding the originals in cages, it's all but spelled out that they've been tortured, and planning to kill them as soon as the plan's finished.
    • Damien Cray also has no problems with killing Alex and his companions — he just keeps getting interrupted or otherwise foiled in doing so. Furthermore, he was willing to submit Alex to Electric Torture just for making his game look too easy before he was even aware that he was a threat to his plans.
    • It's less clear where Yassen lies here — so far he's been unwilling to hurt Alex, but it's not entirely certain what he would have done during the final battle aboard Air Force One had he not gotten hit by a stray bullet.

    Season 1 
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • In Episode 2, the Special Forces team have Alex shackled to a chair, soaking wet and... singing Jake Bugg's Seen It All. In an observation room, Wolf says he "nearly had him" in the previous scene. Snake quips, "Right before he called you an arsehole." Behind them, Eagle smirks.
    • When Alex is introduced to the class at Point Blanc, Kyra completely ignores the new arrival. When Dr Baxter tells her to "say hello to Alex," she leaves a pause just long enough to almost be rude before saying "Hello to Alex," without looking up. Alex smirks.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Eva Stellenbosch in the book was a champion weightlifter described as extremely ugly and borderline monstrous in appearance. The most flattering description is "like a man in drag" and she's explicitly compared to King Kong. In the series, she's played by Ana Ularu. invokedWord of God says this is because it was considered more interesting if she was intimidating for psychological rather than physical reasons.
  • Adapted Out: In the book, Michael Roscoe is killed by 'The Gentleman', a contract killer who always sends black tulips to his victims' families. Here, he's nowhere to be seen and Yassen performs the assassination instead.
  • An Aesop: "Actions have consequences." Spoken by Ian Rider to Alex after the latter is caught stealing Tom's confiscated phone back. Sure enough, the theme of random acts having unintended, far-reaching consequences makes itself known throughout.
    • A chance remark by Alex sets Ian on the line of investigation that gets him killed.
    • Ian's investigation, and his writing 'Point Blanc' on his desk where Alex finds it later, results in Alex being drawn into the world of espionage.
    • Alex challenging the cover story and investigating for himself brings him to Blunt's attention and gets him forcibly recruited for the mission.
    • Alex is useful as a spy partly because Ian seems to have been quietly training him for years. While Ian probably envisioned Alex becoming a spy, his being conscripted at fourteen likely wasn't what he had in mind.
    • Alex being forcibly recruited results in Tom being kidnapped and almost murdered. Twice.
    • Tom's video about Alex being a spy is found on his phone when he's taken prisoner by Duplicate!Roscoe. This blows Alex's cover and almost gets him killed.
    • Kyra's Fakeout Escape results in her parents being murdered.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Duplicate!Alex wants to kill everyone Alex loves as revenge for ruining Dr Greif's plan.
  • Arms Dealer: James, one of the students at Point Blanc who becomes friendly with Alex, is descended from a family of these, starting from his grandfather, who invented a type of cooling shroud for machine guns.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Even if we accept that it's possible to turn one person into a perfect copy of another using cosmetic surgery, you'd still imagine it would take multiple surgeries over weeks, with months needed to recover, rather than the whole thing being done in a few days thanks to some kind of miracle healing drug. The ability to create eight healthy clones, three of them Gender Flipped, also falls under this heading.
  • Assimilation Academy: Point Blanc initially seems like one of these, with the "good" students acting like robots following a programme. Of the rebellious students, first Laura, then James become like the "good" ones, literally overnight. In fact the students are being replaced with Dr. Greif's adolescent clones, altered with Magic Plastic Surgery to look like their targets.
  • Avenging the Villain: Duplicate!Alex travels to London, intending to destroy Alex's life for ruining Dr. Greif's plan and getting him arrested.
  • Bag of Kidnapping: Part of the kidnapping in Episode 2. Alex is knocked off his bike by a van, chloroformed and stuffed in the van with a bag over his head.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When the Parker duplicate has Tom prisoner, his right-hand man proposes a more direct way of getting information out of him. Tom panics, screaming "You don't have to do this!" as the man grabs his thumb and... uses it to unlock his phone.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: When Blunt first asks Alex to go undercover at Point Blanc, Alex flatly refuses. Blunt, unphased, tells him to "pick up the phone tomorrow if you change your mind." Sure enough, Jack and Alex's breakfast is interrupted by the police, who demand to see Jack's passport and declare it to be fake. They're followed by someone from Child Services, who asks who's looking after Alex and tells him to pack a bag. Alex goes into the next room and picks up his mobile.
    Alex: I don't even need to dial, do I? You're listening right now. I was already gonna come in, I was already going to, all you've done is show me what kind of people you are. I'll do it, alright? I'll do it! Call off the dogs!
    [a few seconds go by before the various officials' phones and pagers ALL go off at once]
  • Cold Sniper: The series' version of Eagle is shown to be one, almost absentmindedly dropping three of Greif's guards to allow the rest of her squad to enter Point Blanc.
  • Darwinist Desire: It's rather clear that the reason Sasha (forcibly) comes on to Alex is because she considers him rather physically 'impressive'. Of course, this makes sense, considering that she's not the real Sasha, and is actually one of Dr. Greif's clones.
  • Defiant to the End: Duplicate!Parker has Tom prisoner and has learned everything he can from him. Tom initially begs to be spared, but once it becomes clear that Duplicate!Parker wants to kill him even if he doesn't have to, Tom turns defiant. Advised to "close your eyes" by Duplicate!Parker as he advances on him with a knife, Tom flatly refuses. Fortunately averted when Tom is rescued.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Kyra. She's dismissive and hostile to... well, everyone, but works with Alex and James on the escape plan. When that fails, she and Alex work out a plan where he escapes alone and fetches help, while she rescues the kidnapped students and hides out with them in the laundry room. When she hears Alex has died, she goes into Heroic BSoD mode until she hears from him. In the eighth episode, she visits him at his school, apparently just to see him.
  • Depopulation Bomb: Dr. Greif gives a lecture where he discusses a mass cull as a solution to overpopulation. Alex questions this, asking who decides who gets killed off, and Greif laughingly tells him it's only a thought experiment. This makes Alex pretty sure a mass cull is part of Dr. Greif's plan.
  • Distressed Dude:
    • In Episode 2, Alex is knocked off his bike by a van. He's drugged and shoved into the van and spends most of the episode being subjected to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques before escaping. It's all a Secret Test of Character by Blunt.
    • In Episode 6, Tom is lured to Roscoe Media for a supposed job interview, where he's ambushed and held prisoner by Duplicate!Parker. He's tied to a chair and interrogated, accidentally blowing Alex's cover as he's forced to unlock his phone. He's on the verge of being murdered by Duplicate!Parker when he's rescued by Mrs. Jones.
    • In the same episode, Alex's cover is blown. He's Strapped to an Operating Table and pumped full of Truth Serum.
    • In the final episode, poor Tom gets this again when Duplicate!Alex attacks him with a pole, breaking his arm, and takes him hostage to draw out the real Alex.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Tom finds out Alex has been recruited as a spy, he goes to the Friend estate to talk to him about it. The conversation sounds exactly like they're talking about an abusive relationship, complete with Tom asking about a recent injury and Alex insisting "I just hit my head!" as if it was his fault. Alex seems to notice the resemblance at this point, because he then admits it happened when he was kidnapped.
  • Double Tap: Yassen Gregorovitch shoots Ian Rider three times, at point-blank range, to emphasise that he's a very careful assassin. We don't see where he shoots Ian exactly, but it's likely he's following the "Mozambique Drill": twice in the torso, once in the head.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Having seen Wilby and Yassen discussing Ian's death in terms of protecting Yassen's employers and the school, the audience knows that Alex's efforts at finding Ian's killer at the school are probably doomed to fail.
    • In the final episode, the audience watches as Duplicate!Alex finds his way to Alex's house and inserts himself into his life with clearly malicious intentions, and we know it's the duplicate who said some hurtful things to Tom and Ayisha, but the characters don't know that. At least, not until the duplicate takes Tom hostage to lure Alex.
    • Mrs. Jones has Alex and the duplicate at gunpoint, but doesn't know which is which. One of them addresses her by name to prove himself the real Alex, but the other one claims to have given up that information under torture. This leaves Mrs. Jones confused, but we know that didn't happen, so that Alex is lying and therefore the duplicate. It's therefore pretty satisfying when Tom comes outside and clobbers that Alex.
  • Enhanced Interrogation Techniques: Shortly after agreeing to work for Blunt, Alex is kidnapped by a paramilitary group who interrogates him about his uncle's work and Point Blanc. When he doesn't answer, he's subjected to bright lights and very loud death metal, being soaked, and threats to his loved ones. He escapes, and the whole thing turns out to be a Secret Test of Character by Blunt. It actually leaves him well-prepared to resist another interrogation later when Dr. Greif finds out he's a spy and subjects him to Truth Serum.
    Alex: Turn up the music! What's next, the water? It doesn't matter, I can get paperclips anytime I want! [sings chorus to Jake Bugg's "Seen It All"]
  • Evil Doppelgänger: Dr. Greif's plan was to replace his pupils, all children of super-rich industrialists, with his own surgically-altered clones.In the final episode, Alex's doppelganger tries to destroy his life in revenge for ruining the plan.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Ian Rider keeps a Stiff Upper Lip when having a gun pointed at him, and when Yassen tells him "I'm sorry," he just nods and says, "So am I."
  • Faceless Goons: Downplayed. While outside, the Point Blanc guards wear helmets, ski goggles and balaclavas that fully cover their faces, but inside the Academy they just wear black uniforms, and we see several killed in both states.
  • Fakeout Escape: Knowing she's the next student to disappear, Kyra heads out onto the mountain, leaving some nice clear prints for people to follow as she doubles back to the school.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: It's very blink-and-you'll-miss-it, but the Kyra who approaches Alex asking for help during the storming of Point Blanc uses the 1889 code to open a door, rather than the 0000 code Alex and Kyra added to the system, meaning this is not the real Kyra.
  • Five Stages of Grief: Appropriately given that the series begins with Ian's murder, Alex's emotional state seems to echo the stages at various moments.
    • Denial: Skeptical of the story he's been told, he investigates for himself. He knows he's being lied to and is acting as if that means Ian might not be dead. "What if it never happened? What if it's all bollocks?"
    • Anger: Beats the shit out of an agent who catches him at the crime scene, tells Blunt to "piss off," but decides to go on the mission anyway because "someone did this to us." He's clearly looking for someone to blame, and Blunt is using that.
    • Bargaining: Focuses on the mission, ignoring the effect it's having on his friends and family. Treats completing the mission and finding Ian's killer as if it'll fix everything. "I just do this one thing and then it's over."
    • Depression: While on Truth Serum, he confronts Dr Greif about Ian's murder... only to find he's never heard of Ian Rider. His face when it sinks in that all his efforts have been for nothing is heartbreaking. "All this way, and you don't even know!" Also his cold and distant emotional state when he returns from the mission.
    • Acceptance: Having completed the mission and saved Tom from his Evil Doppelgänger, Alex laughs and jokes with Jack and Tom, happy and relaxed at last. But in the background, Blunt's car lurks...
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The full name of Alex's cover identity, briefly visible on Dr Greif's desk near the end of episode 2, is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Friend.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: Jack evidently has one eye on this trope when she confronts Mrs Jones with Alex's video of Ian's murder scene. She claims to have sent copies to a dozen law firms on five continents, who will release the video "if they don't hear from me at nice, regular intervals." It's not clear if this is true.
  • Heroic BSoD: Kyra, when she thinks Alex has died escaping Point Blanc and therefore won't be bringing the cavalry. She spends half an episode curled up in the dark, until she hears Alex's radio message and realises rescue is coming after all.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Alex to Kyra when she comes to his school in the last episode. He asks about her parents, not realizing they've been murdered. She doesn't tell him.
  • I Know You're Watching Me: When confronted with The Call Knows Where You Live, Alex picks up his phone to call Blunt and agree to work for him... but then speaks without dialling, realising Blunt is listening anyway. It works.
  • Improvised Lockpick: A favourite move of Alex's, usually using a paperclip.
  • Just Following Orders: Invoked by Alex when Wolf tries to clear the air about him and his team kidnapping and torturing Alex. Alex isn't impressed, but Wolf explains that they were calling it off when Alex escaped anyway. It's not clear if Alex accepts that explanation, or just realises he has to work with Wolf regardless.
  • Kick the Dog: All of the students at Point Blanc have been through hell. They've been held prisoner while psychopathic Nazi duplicates go home in their place to take over their lives, and it's all but spelled out that they've been tortured for information to help the duplicates blend in. But Parker Roscoe and Stepan Serenkov will be going home to find that their fathers are dead. Why? Because they knew their sons well enough to realize something was wrong. And according to Crawley, poor Stepan's mother "preferred the clone." Oh, and Kyra's parents have been murdered too because of her Fakeout Escape.
  • Kill and Replace: Teenaged heirs to global industries are to be replaced with Dr Greif's clones, surgically altered into doppelgangers. Fortunately they're rescued before the "kill" part comes into play.
  • I Know Karate: When Alex follows his uncle's car and is caught sneaking into the agency's headquarters, we have this exchange:
    Alex: I know Krav Maga!
    Crawley: I know shooting people in the head.
  • Last Resort Takeout: How cooking works in the world of Jack Starbright: 1) Order Chinese. 2) Get a pan out. 3) Wipe a little sauce inside the pan so it looks like you cooked. Ian's amusement when he thanks her for cooking suggests he knows exactly what's up.
  • Look Both Ways: Having just escaped Point Blanc via improvised snowboard, Alex finds himself standing in a mountain road. He stops to take stock, and is promptly hit by a snowplough. However, unlike most examples the driver did honk, did slow down and does call for an ambulance.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: The Greif clones are changed into perfect duplicates of their targets. They're also brought up to full health within what seems to be a few days, with a drug cocktail designed to aid healing.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: Subverted when one of the pupils at Point Blanc makes a very possessive move on Alex, who finds her creepy and makes it clear he's not interested. When she tries to taunt him with this trope, he shuts her down HARD, resulting in her getting angry and telling him he "should have enjoyed it while you had the chance" before storming off. Also averted by James, with whom Alex shares a "What a crazy bitch!" look.
    Sasha: What's the matter? Don't you like kissing?
    Alex: No, I just don't like kissing YOU!
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: Taken up a notch when Alex is caught sneaking into The Department by Crawley, where it's more like Never Bring Krav Maga to a Gun Fight. Fortunately, Crawley isn't interested in fighting Alex.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Whatever Alex and Tom's friend Jahid was doing in the girls' toilets when he overheard about the party.
    Alex: What was Jahid doing in the girls' toilets?
    Tom: That's what you're choosing to focus on here?
    • We don't hear what Duplicate!Alex said to Ayisha, but Alex got slapped for it.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Tom is nowhere near as stupid as he seems. He knows there's something wrong with the "grief counsellor" who comes to see Alex in Episode 2, because "his shoes are too nice." He sees through Alex's lies, confronts Jack to find out what's really going on and tracks down Alex's cover identity so they can talk. When he's drawn into a trap by Duplicate!Parker, he quickly figures out what's going by the kind of questions Duplicate!Parker asks him. In the finale, he can tell which Alex is the duplicate on sight.
  • Out-of-Character Alert:
    • Parker Roscoe's duplicate attributing a quote from "Mein Kampf" to his father. This tips off Blunt to the fact that something is very wrong, as Michael Roscoe would never quote Hitler. The "father" in this context is Dr Greif.
    • When Laura starts acting like one of the good kids, even eating the porridge she says she hates and stops hanging out with James and Alex, it is because the real Laura has been swapped out with one of Greif's clones.
  • Parental Neglect: It's not actually clear that Tom's parents exist. They never appear onscreen, and when Tom leaves school to go to Roscorp the school ends up calling Jack, because they can't get hold of Tom's parents.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Two of them.
    • Michael Roscoe's murder. He dies leaving a message for Alan Blunt, that he's worried about his son. The ensuing investigation results in...
    • Ian Rider's murder, and the weak cover story Alex is given, which causes Alex to investigate and attract Blunt's attention.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Thankfully a non-lethal example. After finding out Alex is a spy, Tom visits him at the Friend estate to discuss it. If Alex had mentioned the name Roscoe, Tom probably would have been more cautious when seemingly headhunted by Roscorp.
    • And again in the final episode. Duplicate!Alex makes his way to London and inserts himself into Alex's life with the aim of destroying him. One thing he does is corner Tom and taunt him about being taken prisoner earlier, asking "Did it hurt? Were you frightened? Did you think you were going to die?" Jack and Tom hold a sort-of intervention where an angry Tom throws these questions back in a bemused Alex's face. A sentence explaining that Alex is meant to have asked these questions would have cleared things up immediately (as Alex would probably have made the connection between Point Blanc and a mean-spirited version of himself running around). As it is, Alex thinks Tom is taunting him and storms off. So when the duplicate approaches Tom again, he's able to draw him away by pretending he wants to apologize.
  • Replicant Snatching: Dr Greif's plan is to replace the children of billionaire industrialists with his own surgically-altered clones.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Martin Wilby, Ian's colleague. He betrays Ian to his death and is later killed as a liability by Yassen.
  • Running Gag: Early in the first episode, Tom loses his phone, and Alex gets caught stealing it back. Cue Tom being deprived of his phone at really inconvenient times. Then, after he gets it back, it causes even more trouble.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!:
    • The paramilitary team who abduct and interrogate Alex. They do some pretty unpleasant things, but soon decide they're not actually okay with hurting a child.
    • Mrs. Jones did not have the authority to call in a team as backup when she realises Alex has been compromised. She still does and is completely unapologetic when Blunt brings it up with her.
  • Secret Test of Character: In Episode 2, Alex is approached by someone from the Foreign Office, who claims to be trying to get rid of Blunt and asks Alex to help him by testifying that Blunt has forcibly recruited him for undercover work. When Alex is suspicious, the man warns him that "there might be other interested parties." On his way home, Alex is abducted and interrogated by a paramilitary team. Both are working for Blunt: the "Foreign Office" man is Smithers, a Department employee testing whether Alex will take an easy way out of the situation, while the team were testing his response to pressure.
  • Self-Deprecation: In the final scene, Tom is seen wearing a T-shirt that says "The Book Was Better".
  • Sexy Surfacing Shot: In episode three, Alex first meets Fiona Friend when she climbs out of a pool in her swimsuit. It's clear Alex gets a bit Distracted by the Sexy, which she lampshades when she asks him if there "aren't any girls where he's from".
  • Shield Surf: Alex escapes the school by using a modified ironing board to snowboard down the mountain. Kyra lampshades what a bonkers idea this is.
    Alex: This is too straight. [bends board over the table edge]
    Kyra: Yes, that's the problem with this.
  • Shot in the Ass: James was sent to Point Blanc for shooting a tutor in the butt. With an air rifle, he hastens to add.
  • Something Only They Would Say: When Alex is Strapped to an Operating Table and drugged, he assumes the Kyra that comes to untie him is a doppelganger, because as far as he knows Kyra escaped a while ago. She proves her identity by talking about some of the sneaking around they've done, including adding a master code to the security system and what that code is.
  • Spotting the Thread: A recurring theme.
    • The official explanation for Ian Rider's death was that he was speeding, which Alex knows he would never do.
    • When Blunt visits Parker Roscoe, the young man attributes a Hitler quote to his father. Blunt was a friend of Michael Roscoe's and knows he would never quote Hitler, tipping Blunt off to the Evil Plan.
    • Martin Wilby believes he's fooled everyone about his part in Ian's death, until he tries clicking on the tab in Ian's file marked Dependents, and finds himself locked out. That makes him realize he's Locked Out of the Loop and possibly not as in the clear as he believed.
    • Alex makes a few mistakes at Point Blanc (such as referring to Jack by name), which Kyra picks up on. Combined with his request that she check the security system for reference to Ian Rider, she's quickly convinced he's not who he says he is.
  • Stepford Smiler: Alex and James are deeply disturbed when their friend Laura suddenly joins the "good" pupils, literally overnight. Later, the same thing happens to James. They're being replaced by clones of Dr. Greif, surgically altered to look like them.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table:
    • Shortly after arriving in Point Blanc, Alex is drugged unconscious. Next morning, he mentions to James that he didn't sleep well because of a nightmare about this trope. Kyra, sat nearby, chimes in to finish his description with eerie precision, revealing that she had the exact same nightmare, with James soon admitting the same thing. This, along with Laura suddenly turning all Stepford Smiler, makes them decide to escape.
    • Later, after Alex's cover gets blown, he's caught and subjected to this while doped on Truth Serum.
  • Take Over the World: Dr. Greif has created eight clones of himself and is surgically altering them to replace his pupils, all of whom are children of super-rich global industrialists, with the eventual aim of taking control of the world and becoming A Nazi by Any Other Name despotic overlord.
  • Take That!: When Smithers shows Alex the communicator function on his music player, hidden under New Kids on the Block.
    Alex: Who?
    Smithers: Exactly! No one'll look there.
  • Truth Serum: When Dr. Greif finds out Alex isn't who he says he is, he restrains and drugs him. Alex is able to resist, partly by confusing the experience with the previous kidnapping and shouting gibberish related to that.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee:
    • Eagle-eyed viewers will have spotted the moment during the interrogation scene where Alex palms the paperclip, but once he's picked his handcuffs and escaped the audience is still treated to a replay.
    • Kyra decides she has no choice but to try escaping, but Alex has decided to stay and try to find James. When he asks what her plan is, she refuses in case he gets caught and gives her away. He does get caught, and is pleasantly surprised when she reappears to untie him. Turns out she made a show of heading out into the mountain, then doubled back.
  • Vehicular Kidnapping: In Episode 2, Alex is knocked off his bike and forced into a van. Enhanced Interrogation Techniques ensue.
  • Villain Respect: Yassen is implied to have some for Ian Rider, given that he's an Apologetic Attacker when executing him.
  • Villainous Face Hold: Eva Stellenbosch indicates her displeasure by grabbing James by the face when he plays classical records at a building-shaking volume while pretending to conduct, all to create a diversion from Alex and Kyra sneaking around Dr Greif's office.
  • Wham Line: When Mrs. Jones finds out Yassen Gregorovitch is involved, and that he recognized Alex... while a photo of a young Yassen and a conspicuously blurred-out man is projected behind her.
    Mrs. Jones:Alex looks quite a lot like his father.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • Martin Wilby, the agent who betrays Ian Rider by leading him into the trap where Yassen kills him, is also killed by Yassen when it becomes apparent that he's been compromised.
    • Dr Baxter, who performed the cosmetic surgery that transformed the Greif clones into perfect replicas of their targets. Upon completion, he hints that he'd like more money for his silence, and is killed.
    • Dr. Greif plans to kill the pupils he's replaced with his clones. Stellenbosch goes to carry out the murders, only to find Kyra's already broken them out.
    • He falls victim to this trope himself when Yassen Gregorovitch murders him on the way to be interrogated.
    • Finally, the duplicate Alex is gunned down outside the school by Yassen Gregorovitch.
  • Your Mom: When Alex shows up with a head wound, Tom instantly resolves to "finish" whoever did it, "utterly". His plan for this involves donkey porn, Photoshop, and pictures of the guilty party's parents.

    Season 2 
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: While the constant trauma of Alex's missions slowly creeps up on him eventually in the books, it is downplayed at best, whereas the series plays up the psychological consequences of being a borderline Child Soldier much harder. At the beginning of the second series, Alex has full-blown PTSD up to and including seeing Yassen Gregorovitch around every corner. This, unfortunately, doesn't help his case when Gregorovitch starts showing up for real and nobody believes him.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: Noticeable in season two in a way that upends Alex's relationship with his handlers.
    • A kind of twisted example with Alex actually seeking out the help of Alan Blunt and Mrs. Jones to investigate the bombing of Sabine Pleasence's father's home. He is actually somewhat eager to get back in the spy game and has to track them down to contact them. He is offended when they don't want to use him and continues to investigate on his own. While this is different from most of the books where Alex desperately wants to avoid anything resembling spy work and distrusts MI6, he was somewhat eager to take on another mission in the second book, and they did refuse him this way in the fourth book due to disbelief at Damian Cray, a prominent philanthropist, being a criminal mastermind.
    • Alan Blunt actually wants to Give Him a Normal Life with Alex and refuses to involve him in further spy endeavors. This is directly in contrast to his book counterpart who sees Alex as a useful resource and disregards his safety and well-being.
    • Mrs. Jones actually advocates for Alex to be treated as an agent when she is the one who wants him to be able to get out of spying in order to live as a normal teenage boy in the books. She even argues with Alan Blunt over the matter.
  • Adaptational Seriousness: Damien Cray was one of the most comedic villains of the books, being a loony pop star and Psychopathic Manchild with a penchant for elaborate Death Traps, namely a life-sized mock-up of his company’s video game and crushing a greedy traitor with small change. Here, he's portrayed as much more stable and down-to-earth (on the surface), with a more logical reason for his apocalyptic Evil Plan. In fact, his relative sanity makes him more frightening, as he's absolutely seething with barely contained rage whenever someone messes with his plans, leading you to wonder when he's going to explosively snap. He also keeps trying to be a No-Nonsense Nemesis, but keeps getting interrupted before he can Just Shoot Alex.
  • Almost Kiss: Alex and Sabina nearly lock lips in Air Force One's communications centre after calling off the nuclear strikes... But are interrupted by Department combat agents. This may or may not be a good thing, given that the passion was probably fuelled by a "we-just-saved-the-world-and-we're-not-dead" adrenaline rush, and Sabina seems to decide that they should be Just Friends later.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Cray's Evil Plan uses an advanced version of this: he uses a drone and Hollywood Hacking trickery to convince an airbase where Air Force One is parked that a transport containing deadly nerve gas is about to crash, before masquerading as an army hazmat team and being hurriedly let into the base.
  • Bat Deduction:
    • While it's based on somewhat plausible reasoning, Alex, simply by viewing a photo of Charlie Roper inside Ed Pleasance's home, then learning that he's working for Craystar, concludes that he must be Ed's informant.
    • More blatant is when Dan (Jack's handsome legal co-worker) immediately and correctly deduces that she was responsible for the Feathered Serpent launch cancellation hoax, getting her fired. While she was away for a long period during which the hack occurred, the pair had shared a rather flirtatious relationship up until that point, it would be rather unlikely for Jack to be an expert computer criminal, and it would seem more likely that a mundane explanation, such as family trouble or similar, would have required her to take the call. It is however, entirely possible that he was taking a gamble and throwing her under the bus to get the permanent position for himself, given that he has no way of actually proving his claims.
  • Break Them by Talking: Kyra manages to do this to Evelyn Anders in about five seconds flat by calling her a bad programmer, which causes her to angrily Bitch Slap Kyra and lose all composure.
  • Cassandra Truth: Downplayed. While Tom, Smithers, and Mrs. Jones listen to Alex's claims that Damien Cray ordered Ed Pleasance's death, nobody else takes him seriously, with Blunt dismissing the theory as nonsense, Sabina thinking he's making the whole thing up to try and get in her pants, and even Jack being rather skeptical at first.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: The Department are rather unlucky in this series, locating Smoking Mirror just after he is killed by Yassen, who, along with Alex, has left the building. Department agents also show up on Air Force One — but only manage to ruin a romantic moment between Alex and Sabina, with all the villains being dead or unconscious by this point. Mrs. Jones even irritatedly lampshades this after the former incident.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Cray's plan is never actually referred to as Eagle Strike as it was in the books.
  • Crusading Lawyer: Jack works for a firm of these for most of the season, mostly being involved with immigration and asylum cases.
  • Decomposite Character: Charlie Roper — he's become an Adaptational Nice Guy who still serves his role as Ed Pleasance's source of intel toward Cray's shady dealings. His other plot-relevant role (being the man who provided Cray access to the American nuclear codes) being divided between "Smoking Mirror" (who provides Cray with the code required to hack the nuclear strike system) and Evelyn Anders, Cray's Dragon who oversees the technical aspects of the Evil Plan.
  • Just Plane Wrong: Damien Cray's secret weapon, used to chase after Alex, Kyra and Tom when escaping from the Amsterdam facility, is a minigun-armed drone. Problem is, the drone appears to be little different from a commercial heavy-lift model, and as such, it probably just wouldn't work. Even assuming that the vehicle is able to lift the heavy weapon and its ammo in the first place, the recoil would presumably send the thing careening around the sky like a paper cup in a hurricane, rendering the gun totally useless.
  • Masquerading As the Unseen: Alex manages to get into Damian Cray's competition for an advanced copy of Feathered Serpent 2 by posing as the greatest player of the original, "K7" whom nobody knows the identity of and Cray has been trying to locate.
  • Mauve Shirt: Sean Palmer, Damien Cray's head of Security and a Scottish ex-SAS operative gets a surprising amount of development for a character whose only role is to serve as a Red Herring for the Department after Yassen sets him up as an assassin.
  • Murphy's Bullet: Yassen gets wounded by a ricochet on board Air Force One.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Unusually Subverted. Damien Cray is on two occasions ready and willing to put a bullet between Alex's eyes, but gets interrupted from doing so — the first time, he is sidetracked by Jack's Feathered Serpent cancellation hoax, and on the second occasion, Yassen, no doubt acting on his own ulterior motives, convinces Cray he would be more useful as a hostage.
  • Nuke 'em: this is Cray's ultimate goal, as his plan to use the release of Feathered Serpent 2 to create a supercomputer, use it to steal the nuclear launch codes from the Pentagon and hijack Air Force One to launch a nuclear assault on several drug-producing countries in an attempt to win the war on drugs.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: When asked by several people on Twitter why the show was skipping over Skeleton Key, Anthony Horowitz simply replied with "Covid", indicating travel restrictions made it impossible to adapt.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the book Eagle Strike, Yassen Gregorovich dies from lethal injuries, but here, said character is presumed to have escaped with bad but not lethal injuries.
  • The Spock: Evelyn Anders, Cray's Head Programmer, is blunt to a fault and obsessed with logic and efficiency. She does, however, fly into a rage when Kyra calls her a bad programmer, and gets disturbingly excited when it looks as though Cray's Evil Plan is coming to fruition.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted The Department have assigned Alex a therapist — although that doesn't mean she's particularly effective at treating his PTSD.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Yassen Gregorovitch gets hit by a stray bullet during the final fight on Air Force One, preventing him from directly coming to blows with Alex... Or more specifically, leaving it very ambiguous as to what exactly would happen when he's forced to fight Alex.

    Season 3 
  • Academy of Evil: Malagosto, Scorpia's training centre for assassins, where "classes" include hand-to-hand combat, marksmanship, and infiltration planning. This is actually played straighter than it was in Scorpia, with all students being orphaned Tyke Bombs in their mid twenties at most, rather than experienced former special forces personnel, with Alex's age being an outlier, as was the case in the books.
  • Adaptational Location Change: Alex's initial encounter with Scorpia and time at Malagosto are set in Malta, whereas in Scorpia this took place in Venice.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: In Scorpia, Nile was a Consummate Professional who was genuinely quite friendly towards Alex. Here, Nile is a brutal taskmaster at Malagosto, and makes no secret whatsoever of his contempt towards Alex's weakness, with Yassen going so far as to call him out for his sadism and brutality.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Tom's older brother Jay may be a massive adrenaline junkie who's obsessed with extreme sports, but he still stands by by the "7 Ps" — "Prior Planning and Preparation Prevent Piss Poor Performance".
  • Affably Evil: Unlike Julia Rothman and Nile, Max Grendel's politeness towards Alex seems more-or-less genuine, which is helped by the fact that he actually has some principlesor at least, he objects to Invisible Sword under the (correct) assumption that it's essentially Rothman's personal revenge plot and as such is against Scorpia's Consummate Professional ethos.
  • Artistic Licence – Physics: Alex bypasses a Laser Hallway with the help of a rather nifty gadget: a remote-controlled car which reflects the lasers back on themselves, destroying the emitters. Thing is, in the rare event that they do exist in Real Life, security lasers are nowhere near powerful enough to damage anything.
  • Ascended Extra: Downplayed. Max Grendel manages to appear in two episodes and get some amount of characterisation as a voice of relative reason who tries to talk Rothman out of going ahead with Invisible Sword due to the mass scale of death it will cause and her motivation for doing so. In the books, he existed mostly to demonstrate just how ruthless Scorpia is within a handful of pages, despite similarly falling victim to Resignations Not Accepted.
  • Bathroom Search Excuse: How Alex justifies his presence to Nile after following them to the first floor of the cathedral where her art exhibition is taking place. Given that he had to go through a guarded door to get there, it's not very convincing, and both he and Nile know it.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Julia Rothman paying Dr. Luka Kovacic with diamonds makes perfect sense — she knew he would return to his lab to test their authenticity, which allows Nile to dispose of him and the evidence in one fell swoop.
    • Scorpia was betting heavily on the British intelligence services evacuating the reserve football team to the military base. If they'd followed Mrs. Jones' original plan to disperse the players, there's no way the terahertz transmitter pod would have been able to reach them all.
    • Julia Rothman works out that Alex is trying to steal and read the file on Invisible Sword, so she replaces it with several photos of John Rider and a video recording showing Mrs. Jones seemingly ordering his death, in an attempt to goad him into killing for the first time, with Jones as the target.
  • Blatant Lies: When Tom and Jay discover Alex treating Kyra's stab wound, she claims that she was trying to open a tin with a Swiss Army Knife. Not even Alex can make it sound convincing.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Kyra still finds time to snark at Alex when the pair are assailed by Scorpia goons in the first episode.
  • Cyanide Pill: After Smithers and Crawley intercept a Scorpia technician who's in the process of removing the terahertz transmitter used to kill the football team, he immediately takes one of these and dies instantly, foaming at the mouth.
  • Deadly Hazing: After Alex demonstrated "weakness" by refusing to shoot a human-shaped target (presumably as it reminded him what he was training for), the other trainees throw a blanket over his head and subject him to a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Not entirely unexpected for Malagosto, after all.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The series' depiction of Malagosto is situated in a repurposed Cold War bunker on the coast of Malta.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: The finale "ends" with the credits and title theme, which soon start to glitch out and halt to show the final scene (where Nile tries and fails to kill Alex) before the episode (and series) end for real.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Julia Rothman tries to present herself as familial and caring when she's trying to convince Alex to join Scorpia, but behind closed doors she's a chillingly gleeful Soft-Spoken Sadist who clearly relishes the chaos and death she's causing.
  • Gas Leak Cover Up: The non-lethal effects of Invisible Sword's activation are "explained" as the result of a chemical leak following a crash on the A56.
  • Groin Attack: Kyra finishes off the last Mook standing with one of these in the first episode.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: When the Department dispatches a tactical team to track down the source of Scorpia's video, the Red Shirt agents are wearing full tactical gear, while Crawley and Pritchard are only wearing Bulletproof Vests.
  • I Am the Noun: Julia Rothman angrily proclaims "I am Scorpia" after Yassen admonishes her for using the organisation's resources for revenge.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Kyra, despite being The Smart Girl, climbs over the wall into Julia Rothman's villa by herself, and very quickly gets grabbed by a Scorpia goon, and is saved only by the timely arrival of Alex. It's partly a Justified Trope given her desire for revenge against Scorpia, but that can only mitigate the idea's foolishness to a degree.
    • When trying to track down the source of Scorpia's video message, the Department blunders right in seemingly not even considering the possibility of a trap, despite the fact that Scorpia had warned them not to interfere. There's a bomb, which kills Agent Pritchard.
    • Scorpia somehow fail to notice the completely untrained and rather conspicuous Tom and Kyra when they return to Malta after being forced to leave on pain of death, to the point that they are able to stake out Malagosto for several hours straight without being noticed.
  • Intimate Healing: Kyra gets stabbed by a Scorpia Mook when she and Alex break into the garden of Rothman's villa — and Alex has to help her remove her shirt to get to the wound, leaving her in a bralette as he applies a bandage, complete with a few Longing Looks and a Not What It Looks Like reaction when Tom and Jay stumble in.
  • Master of Disguise: Played with, in that said "master", Mr. Mancini, is a makeup/prosthetics artist who disguises Alex as a scruffy food delivery guy to break into Mrs. Jones' apartment]].
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Discussed — it's noted that a significant reason behind Dr. Luka Kovacic's decision to work for Scorpia was because his questionable lines of research and shady connections got him blacklisted from all legitimate research institutions and companies, and when he ran out of cash, he had nowhere else to go to look for work.
  • Motive Rant: Julia Rothman goes on a brief but sinister tirade where she remarks how medieval societies would expend vast resources, to the extent of letting people starve, to construct cathedrals: she suggests this was a reflection of the Black Death's impact, and thus how Scorpia, with its own control of mass death thanks to Invisible Sword, could enjoy similar power.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Razim, the Big Bad of Scorpia Rising, is name-dropped twice as a rival of Julia Rothman's within Scorpia.
    • Tom suggests that Alex could infiltrate Julia Rothman's art show by dressing as a waiter while he stages a distraction by setting off fireworks — exactly how Alex snuck into Rothman's Masquerade Ball in Scorpia. Kyra then scoffs at the idea and uses her Hollywood Hacking skills to put Alex on the guest list in about five minutes flat.
    • Just as in the book, Alex is targeted by a Scorpia sniper (in this case Nile, out for payback) after being debriefed by Mrs Jones — but Yassen, seemingly out of courtesy to Ian Rider, gets to Nile first, while in the book Alex was shot but survived.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Said verbatim by Nile after Rothman discovers that Alex has presumably jumped off a cliff after getting cornered on a balcony by the former. Rothman calls him an "imbecile" and is certain that the boy has survived. She's right of course — he used Le Parkour to climb up the building instead.
  • Nothing Personal: This is Scorpia's official policy, they're willing to commit any crime for the right price but they must never make anything personal. Max Grendel and Yassen both realize that Julia has broken this rule to get her revenge and call her out on it.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: In Scorpia's Hostage Video, they demand that British government forgive all debts held over Third World countries — but Rothman's Evil Gloating in the first episode makes it clear that the only thing she's interested in is increasing Scorpia's power, and this is just a cover.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After Rothman tells him about how John faked his death, Yassen bluntly tells her that she is engaging in Revenge by Proxy Revenge Before Reason just to lash out at John Rider by killing his son.
  • Red Right Hand: Downplayed, but Julia Rothman has a noticeable scar cutting across the right-hand side of her lips.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Alex and Kyra share The Big Damn Kiss in Episode 7, after he refuses to kill Mrs. Jones and is returned home by the Department.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Operation Invisible Sword is Julia Rothman's vengeance for being deceived by John Rider and the near-destruction of Scorpia at the hands of the Department as a result. Both Yassen and Max Grendel warn her about how unprofessional and risky this is, given the high chance of Scorpia being exposed and defeated once again. Funnily enough, this is exactly what happens — Rothman falls victim to Bond Villain Stupidity due to her obsession with watching Alex Rider die, despite the risk he could be compromised by the Department, and leaving sensitive information accessible on her laptop that once again cripples the organisation.
  • Secret Handshake: Played for Laughs regarding Tom and his brother Jay's elaborate greeting ritual, which Kyra rolls her eyes at.
  • Shipper on Deck: More subtle than usual, but Tom takes a picture of Alex and Kyra standing together, and later informs the latter that he's well aware the pair have feelings for each other.
  • Shoot the Hostage Taker: How John Rider saved Yassen Gregorovitch's life. After meeting with an Arms Dealer target who revealed he had cottoned on to Scorpia's plan to take over the black market in Latin America, a young Yassen panicked and was held at gunpoint by one of his bodyguards. John then fired an amazing shot that scraped Yassen's cheek while nailing the bodyguard and target in the head simultaneously.
  • Trapped by Gambling Debts: Played with. It wasn't gambling, exactly, but Luca Kovacic got stuck working for Scorpia after losing all of his money in a high-risk investment scheme, having a similar effect.
  • Twitchy Eye: Julia Rothman displays this when Max Grendel announces that he's planning to leave Scorpia.
  • Tyke Bomb: The Malagosto trainees are all orphans who were found and raised by Scorpia, then groomed into becoming the organisation's loyal minions and assassins.
    Oleg: No baggage, no background… It helps.
  • Vehicle-Based Characterization: Max Grendel is chauffeured around in a vintage Mercedes-Benz sedan that befits his status as a Man of Wealth and Taste.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Subverted. Nile manages to escape from Bath Abbey after Alex shuts down the transmitter and comes after Alex for revenge, but gets killed by Yassen first.
  • Villain in a White Suit: Julia Rothman is a relatively rare example of a female villain choosing this as her default attire until Episode 6. She has a tendency to wear white in general, too.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Ian Rider's plan during the prisoner exchange is far more dangerous than in the original book, with him actually getting shot in order to ensure his "death" looks realistic, with only a Bulletproof Vest to protect him.

Alternative Title(s): Alex Rider