The series is based on the Blood Books by Tanya Huff. The leads are a private investigator, a vampire, and a cop. This show plays with and subverts several tropes of the Friendly Neighborhood Vampire genre: we are supposed to be sympathetic to him, but he isn't "friendly" in the usual sense.
Henry Fitzroy (played by Kyle Schmid) has no visible Wangst. He is not The Atoner. He doesn't suffer from I Just Want to Be Normal syndrome, so he does not waste any time looking for cures. He likes being a vampire. Since he likes being a vampire, he does not want to kill his sire. He still carries a torch for her.
He is a very efficient practitioner of the Kiss of the Vampire, so there is a long line of bimbos who want to get into his bed. (The book version of Henry Fitzroy is cheerfully bisexual, but this version is apparently heterosexual.)
Strictly speaking, Henry is a Vampire Sidekick. The actual lead is Vicki Nelson (played by Christina Cox), a human PI (and former cop), who's wound up specializing in cases on the unearthly side. There is a Love Triangle between Henry, Vicki, and Vicki's old flame Mike Celluci, who is a (human) police detective and the resident Agent Scully.
Further note: Henry has no problem with holy symbols; he carries his own crucifix and attends Catholic Church. He is as good a Catholic as television and his vampirism permit (he has to be awfully promiscuous so that no one loses much blood over time).
Provides examples of:
- Adaptation Title Change: The show is based on the Blood Books series.
- Ascended Extra: Coreen originally appeared only as a client in the first Blood book, before her memory was erased by Henry at the end. She has a far expanded role in the tv-series.
- And Starring: "And Kyle Schmid as Henry Fitzroy."
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy / Historical Domain Character: Henry Fitzroy, the bastard son of Henry VIII.
- Black Eyes of Evil: Averted with Henry, whose eyes go black for his Game Face and during hypnosis, as he is a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire (more or less).
- Born-Again Immortality: A couple of lovers had this power. After death they would be reincarnated and their old memories would come back once they reached puberty. They would find each other again and they would spend another lifetime as a couple. Things go awry when the woman dies in an accident that also puts the man in a coma for ten years. When he finally reincarnates and gets his memories back he can't find her.
- Break the Cutie: "Heart of Fire" is a good example of this: the ultra-handsome, charming and quirky Henry Fitzroy is physically tortured by a mad priest, who beats, drains and starves the vampire into confessing his sins so the priest can kill him. The priest also enthusiastically Breaks the Cutie by showing him videos of his ex-girlfriend betraying him, trying to get Henry to suck dry his love interest Vicki, and twisting a device that is LODGED around Henry's heart with metal spikes. As the final Break The Cutie moment, he even kills a cute little rat that Henry had spared despite his desperation for blood.
- Charm Person: Henry (would be Compelling Voice, but Vicki can fend him off).
- Chinese Vampire: While not present, they are mentioned by Coreen in reference to "Illuminacion del sol," a sun-shaped weapon that paralyzes a vampire when stuck in his or her chest. Despite the Spanish name, possibly given by its previous owner Monsignor Javier Mendoza, it was actually created at the request of a Chinese emperor to battle jiangshi. Given that the weapon works on a Western vampire, it can be assumed that these jiangshi are the same, although the number of supernatural beings in existence in this verse could indicate otherwise.
- Christianity is Catholic: Justified for Henry, at least — he originally came from a place where, as far as the locals were concerned, Christianity really was Catholic. When he has a run-in with a crazed immortal Catholic priest Mendoza, that Catholic priest came from Catholic Spain.
- Comic Books: Henry creates "graphic novels." (This was updated to a visual medium from the books, where he writes romance novels under a female pseudonym.) Mike makes fun of him for this constantly.
- Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Detective Mike Celluci is given silver bullets made for his police-issue Glock 9mm to kill a wendigo. He pumps it full of silver before the creature explodes.
- Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: When Vicki tries to convince Mike that she was attacked by a zombie in "Bad Juju":Mike: It's pitch black and you're half blind. (Beat.) I said that last part out loud, didn't I?
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Mike dies in Vicki's arms after being shot, but Henry hits the Reset Button on the "Groundhog Day" Loop and he's fine.
- Dropped Glasses: Though in this case, Vicki has a spare pair and they're really just to let Mike know she was in the area.
- Evil Sorcerer: Pacha Camac is an Incan priest who has himself mummified so that he can be resurrected in the future.
- Fakin' MacGuffin: In "Norman", the heroes Vicki and Henry are forced to give a magic dagger to the demonic villain Norman when he kidnaps Vicki's secretary and holds her hostage. Norman needed the dagger to complete a spell to release the uber demon Asteroth into the world. However, unknown to the audience, Vicki and Henry had first taken the dagger to a priest to have it blessed before they gave it to Norman, so that when he used it, his spell of summoning failed and he was sucked back down to Hell.
- Fantasy Helmet Enforcement: A bizarre example, where a child is shown sneaking out of the house to ride his bike. Just because you are the evil spawn of a dark elf, sneaking out of the house to murder one of the neighborhood children, that's no reason to ignore bicycle safety.
- Fight Clubbing: "Necrodome." Yeah, guess what the twist to that one is.
- Fully-Embraced Fiend: Henry embraces his vampiric nature. He seduces a girl every night to secretly snack on her while doing other stuff. He does give a speech to Vicki, including "someone has to die" in it. Coincidentally, the victim they are talking about is not dead, as Henry leads her to assume. He turned the girl. At the same time, Henry also has qualities of a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire.
- Game Face: Henry extends fangs, and his eyes go black.
- Gasp of Life: In one scene we see the vampire Henry Fitzroy waking up with a gasp after sleeping through the day - it's implied that sleep for a vampire is indistinguishable from death.
- Goth: Vicki's assistant Coreen is a fairly well adjusted Goth. She even has an episode where she gets Vicki to solve murders at her Goth club.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: In "5:55". Done at night on this show, of course. It's not entirely clear what actually causes the loop, but it seems to be triggered by opening Pandora's Box.
- Hollywood Darkness: Appears when Vicki and Henry enter a barn at night and Vicki starts going on about how she can't see in the (well illuminated) set. There are two possible justifications: 1) Henry the vampire was facing off against a were-panther, both of whom had no problem seeing in the dark, so the audience was seeing it from their point of view, and 2) Vicki has retinitis pigmentosa, so it appeared darker to her than it actually was.
- Hollywood Exorcism: Coreen is possessed in the final episode by Astaroth, forcing Henry to seek the help of a priest who has done this before. An obvious Shout-Out to The Exorcist. It doesn't go well..
- Horror Hunger: After being tortured, Henry is set up to go after Vicki, but he ends up biting Mike, and later moves on to Javier.
- Hypnotic Eyes: Vampires can compel most people to do their bidding. Their eyes usually turn black during the process. There are some who are immune. Vicki is one of them, which could possibly be explained by her poor eyesight.
- I Love You Because I Can't Control You: At least part of Henry's attraction to Vicki is her resistance to his Compelling Voice.
- I Love You, Vampire Son: Henry specifically mentions that a vampire only turns people he or she cares about. In his case, Christina warned him that natural vampiric territoriality would eventually force them apart, lest they kill each other.
- Imaginary Friend: A young girl in "Gifted" can summon her imaginary friend in a semi-solid form.
- Intangible Man: Lampshaded in "D.O.A.," where a ghost complains to Vicki that how come he can't touch stuff, but he can still sit on a couch.
- Jive Turkey:
- Lee, the reincarnated 15-year-old, speaks both modern-day slang AND the slang of the 1920s (proven by Henry).
- Henry himself performs some 1920s slang and a Brooklyn accent for Vicki on another instance.
- Latin Lover: Incubus Emmanuel the gardener presents himself as a charismatic Latino.
- Literally Shattered Lives: Medusa seduces and petrifies young men. When Vicki takes the statue of her latest victim, she sends a Mook to destroy the evidence, which he does by smashing the poor kid into pieces. After Medusa is dead, her victims get better, except for the smashed one.
- Mayfly–December Romance: A requirement for Henry in dating. Though it's subverted with Maya, who he claims he's too old for. That's because he used to date her mother and still remembers her as a cute little kid.Henry: "Oh, come on, she's a little young for me, don't you think?"
Vicki: "Isn't everybody?"
- Monster and the Maiden: The show focuses on a human private investigator named Vicki Nelson who enlists the aid of a vampire named Henry Vitzroy in her cases.
- Mr. Fanservice: Henry. Not only is he a bishonen vampire with sexy curly hair and a tragic romantic past, but he spent large quantities of the story with his shirt off or ripped to shreds, lounging/writhing around in bed (again shirtless). He's also artistic, multitalented, superstrong, cute, chivalrous, and has a lot of funny stories about his past. All that, and he can give women orgasms with his bite.
- Muggle and Magical Love Triangle: Vicki's love triangle with her police officer ex, Mike, and a 500-year-old sexy vampire, Henry.
- No Man of Woman Born: "5:55" features Pandora's Box, which no living person can resist opening. Since Henry, as a vampire, isn't a living person, the box doesn't affect him.
- "Not So Different" Remark: A great example of the "That's why I can beat you" outcome is a scene where the cornered freaked-out vampire (abandoned by its sire) tells Henry that he too is a monster and Henry answers "But I am the monster who is coming out of this alive."
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: A werejaguar takes revenge on a hunter that kills various types of werebeasts. It is implied that (as in the Blood Books the series was based on) wereism is hereditary, rather than transmitted.
- Parental Abandonment: Vicki had a Disappeared Dad that she's still pissy about. Sarah's Missing Mom, well... Sarah killed her. Sarah's dad realized that Sarah was having issues after her imaginary friend attacked him and chose to disappear himself. He comes back though.
- Perky Goth: Coreen.Vicki: No one likes a perky Goth.
- Rain of Blood: One of a villain's victims drips onto Vicki.
- Really 700 Years Old: Henry was only seventeen when he was turned.
- Reincarnation Romance: Sadly goes awry, when this time Helen is born ten years ahead of her lover Lee since he was in a coma before dying, and has already married and gotten knocked up by the Romantic Runner-Up, having waited for him for several years. Possibly subverted, since it's suggested that there may be a reason why they keep dying prematurely in all their incarnations (i.e. they might not really meant to be together).
- Rouge Angles of Satin: The opening credits of "Wrapped" (at least in the TV version) feature "Guset Stars."
- Royal Bastard: After Vicki realises Henry is a vampire, he reveals that his full name is Henry Fitzroy, and he's an illegitimate son of King Henry VIII.
- Sadistic Choice: In the series finale, a demon makes Vicki choose between the life of one of her friends, or the power to save the world, which includes reversal of her near-blindness. She chooses her friend.
- Self-Mutilation Demonstration: Henry demonstrates his vampiric nature to Vicki by shoving a knife through his hand.
- Serial Killer: Magnus.
- Shadow Archetype: Vicki and Henry are supposed to be this in a symbolic way. Vicki's retinitis pigmentosa means that she can't see at night. Henry's vampirism means that he will be seriously hurt by daylight. Her realm is the day, his is the night.
- Silver Bullet: Kills Wendigo.
- Smells Sexy: One of the odder examples: in one episode, Henry is apparently attracted to the smell of death and can't stop smelling Vicki after she returns from a funeral home.
- Staking the Loved One: Javier did it to Maria.
- Succubi and Incubi: Emmanuel the gardener, a surprisingly decent guy considering everything else going on. He and Henry discuss at length about women at the end of the episode.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Guess what happens to a police detective who frequently leaves the office or his current case to go chase down a personal matter or help out a former friend? He gets suspended.
- Taken for Granite: Brandon.
- Temporary Blindness: Subverted here. Vicki has retinitis pigmentosa (and nearsightedness), which currently means she can see in the daytime fine but has issues at night. She tends to walk in front of cars and such.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Grimoire is used several times to summon demons. Henry has his own copy, "confiscated" from a bunch of Medieval cultists, and uses it to sabotage summoning rituals.
- Torture Always Works: Javier likes to do it with vampires to get them to confess to their crimes, after which he kills them (and drains them of blood to make himself immortal).
- Trophy Room: Of shapeshifters.
- Truncated Theme Tune: Blood Ties has a full theme song and opening sequence, but (at least on Lifetime Real Women where it's currently being rerun), the theme is cut down to a title card and brief musical clip, and the credits are all shown during the next scene.
- Turn in Your Badge: Det. Mike Celluci is asked for his badge in the finale. Considering he's been threatened with it for two seasons and finally left a hostage crisis to battle Astaroth with Vicki and Henry, it's completely unsurprising.
- Undercover as Lovers: Vicki infiltrates a fertility clinic by posing as a patient and gets Mike to pose as her husband.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Henry and Vicky.
- Vampire Hunter: Monsignor Javier Mendoza is a villanous variant. He was a Grand Inquisitor during the Spanish Inquisition, who captured vampires using any means possible, tortured them until they confessed, and then brutally executed them. Oh yeah, he also used their blood in a potion that stopped his aging process, allowing him to continue the hunt. He doesn't shy away from murdering innocents to get his prey. In "Heart of Ice", he murders a prostitute and drains her of blood, so that Henry's friends would give him up.
- Interestingly, the only anti-vampire weapon they show him having is a sun-shaped Chinese-made object that weakens a vampire to the point of a human being stronger. The object has to be physically attached to the vampire's chest to work, requiring trickery, given the vampires' speed.
- Mike attempts this too in early episodes, and helps Javier hunt down Henry.
- Vampires Are Sex Gods: Henry.
- Villainous Mother-Son Duo: Lavena O'Connor, the main antagonist of "Deadly Departed". When her son Magnus was in his teens, Lavena used black magic to corrupt him into a "killing machine", renting him out to perform brutal assassinations to pay for her lifestyle and business. Following Magnus being arrested, Lavena forced him to perform a ritual that would bar his soul from the afterlife, and then used his spirit to carry on killing those who took him away from her. Magnus is even thankful to Vicki at the end for freeing him from his evil mother.
- Weirdness Magnet: Vicki. Her demon tattoos draw supernatural things to her, explaining why all of her cases suddenly have to do with monsters and demons.
- Who Dunnit To Me: "DOA" starts when an undercover cop's spirit strolls in and asks Vicki to solve his murder. It eventually develops that he's technically still alive, he's just been evicted from his body.
- Wipe That Smile Off Your Face: A voodoo witch does this to Coreen.
- Wunza Plot: She's a Canadian police detective who is slowly losing her sight. He's a vampire. They fight crime!
- You Said You Would Let Them Go