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Series / Claws

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Nails Maketh Woman

This TNT original dramedy series focuses on Desna (Niecy Nash), a nail salon owner in Florida. Her personal relationships, family and business dealings complicate her plans to expand her salon, do right by her employees and move up in the world.

This show provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Appears to be the case with Desna and Dean's biological mother, who was a drug addict. In a flashback they flee from her and cling to their foster mother when she comes to take them home. Their other foster parents, the Coombses, certainly were physically and emotionally abusive. Dean confesses to Desna that the Coombses raped him and threatened to do the same to her if he told anyone.
    • Marnie's mother tried to pimp her out to get money for drugs. Polly intervenes and takes Marnie under her wing.
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: It's eventually revealed that Polly had an identical twin sister named Lilian who drowned when they were 13. Polly pushed her onto thin ice and watched as she fell through because Lilian was dating the boy she had a crush on. It's strongly hinted that this the root of her mental illness.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Zlata forces Roller to marry her daughter at gunpoint.
  • Asian Airhead: Virginia is half Vietnamese and not the brightest person on the show.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Polly. She looks sweet and innocent, but will kick your ass just as hard as any of the others.
  • Broken Pedestal: Desna, in a major way, toward Gregory and Zlata after learning that not only were they sleeping with each other, they were manipulating and lying to her from the beginning.
  • Chatty Hairdresser: In a show set in a nail salon, this was basically inevitable.
  • Consistent Clothing Style:
    • Desna wears a lot of tight clothes and low-cut tops.
    • Virginia wears revealing, colorful outfits, along with lots of jewelry and sparkly accessories.
    • Quiet Ann always wears some combination of t-shirts, loose button-down shirts, and shorts. For formal occasions she wears suits instead of dresses.
  • Consummate Liar: Polly was just released from jail for identity theft in the first episode. In episode 4 this was expanded on when she reunites with Sally, who believes Polly is named 'Heather' and a rich trophy wife like her.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Desna, especially when she answers Virginia's "Am I a hero now?" with "Malala ain't got nothin' on you."

  • Diagnosed by the Audience: In-Universe, by Dean. While talking to Desna about marrying Virginia, Dean mentions one of the reasons they are perfect for each other is that she might be on the Autism spectrum due to her aversion to hot foods.

  • Dirty Cop: Chip Lauderdale.
  • Disappeared Dad: Desna and Dean's biological father Calvin was an addict who abandoned them when they were little. Over the years he got clean and became a famous architect. In season 3 Desna reaches out to him in hopes that will help her get over her abandonment issues.
  • Faking the Dead: In the series finale, the DEA shows up at the docks in time to see Desna shoot a pregnant Ann before the girls board a boat, which then explodes. Two months later, a mourning Dean gets a video from Desna explaining the entire thing was faked and the whole gang (including Ann) are living it up in Cuba, finally free of the feds, the mob and the rest.
  • Five-Man Band:
    • The Leader: Desna, the owner of the salon, makes most of the major decisions regarding the team's criminal activity. Her ambition drives the show's major storylines.
    • The Lancer: Jennifer is Desna's closest friend and loyal right-hand. Her aversion from organized crime contrasts with Desna's desire to be a major player in the criminal underworld.
    • The Smart Guy: Polly is an experienced con artist and thief. Her talents for disguise and deception often come in handy. Also counts as The Heart because she tries the hardest to make everyone get along.
    • The Big Guy: Quiet Ann is the strongest and toughest of the main characters. She protects the other women from their enemies and can be counted on to get them out of dangerous situations.
    • Sixth Ranger: Virginia is the youngest and newest member. At first, the other women don't like or respect her, but she eventually finds her place within the team.
  • Gayngster: Uncle Daddy. Holy hell, Uncle Daddy (although he's actually bisexual). His opening scene alone has him in a strip club leering and pawing at a young twink in leather and talking avidly about his genitalia.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Averted. Virginia getting an abortion is portrayed as one of her more mature, responsible decisions. Neither she nor the father want a child, and probably aren't equipped to raise one anyway.
  • Happily Married: Jenn and Bryce, at first. After Desna and Virginia kill Roller, Uncle Daddy has Roller take over the clinic, much to Jenn's dismay. Bryce actually finds that he's good at running it and gets involved in more of Uncle Daddy's schemes.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Virginia, after Roller tries to rape and choke her.
  • I Knew There Was Something About You: Played with in Season 4 when Polly meets a handsome British millionaire and poses as a rich British lady herself. As he's dying, they soon marry only for him to pass away on their wedding night. At the reading of his will, Polly is shocked when the man's will relates he always knew she was a grifter but still loves her and prefers she have his fortune over his terrible spoiled children.
  • Ironic Name: The name "Virginia" means "virginal", unsurprisingly, but Virginia is the furthest thing from that.
  • Last Day of Normalcy: The first episode spends a lot of time explaining how the main characters launder money and establishing their relationships with each other, particularly Desna and Roller's volatile romance. The inciting incident — Desna trying to kill Roller over money and his mistreatment of her — occurs at the end of the episode.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Desna steals cocaine from Gregory and plants it on one of Zlata's men to turn them against each other.
  • Momma's Boy: Desna's boyfriend Gregory is extremely close to his mother... so much so that it makes Desna uncomfortable.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Virginia dresses almost exclusively in crop tops, short-shorts, and skin-tight dresses.
  • New Meat: Virginia.
  • Not Quite Dead: Desna and Virginia think they killed Roller in the first episode, but it's later revealed that he somehow survived.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Gregory's mother is only pretending to need a wheelchair.
  • Once More, with Clarity: After discovering her boyfriend is really a DEA agent, Desna goes over their relationship to realize from the moment they met, he's been setting her up to find out about her operations.
  • Pimping the Offspring: In the season 1 finale, Polly rescues Marnie from being forced into prostitution to fund her mother's drug addiction.
  • Promotion to Parent: Desna has had to take care of Dean since they were children because their mother was a drug addict and some of their foster parents never should have been allowed near kids.
  • Really Gets Around: Virginia, though she seems to have slowed down after starting a serious relationship with Dean.
  • Spot the Imposter: In season 4, Polly hits it off with a rich man, posing as a bored British socialite to woo him. At a party, she runs into the man's daughter who hisses that she can instantly see a would-be goldigger from a mile off and especially on her "bad accent."
  • Stupid Evil: First, Roller sleeps with Virginia behind Desna's back. Then he screws her out of the money she's rightfully owed, and belittles her when she tries to go above his head to get her cut. Then he tries to rape Virginia - nearly strangling her to death in the process (only stopping because Desna interrupted them and gave Virginia an out), and tries to get Desna to "finish the job". She promptly tries to drown him.
  • Taking the Bullet: Season 2 ends with Virginia saving Desna from a Gangland Drive-By and getting hit instead.
  • Team Mom: Desna. Full stop. Mess with one of the women under her protection and she will whoop your ass without a second thought.
  • This Is Reality: In the series finale, after being arrested, Virginia demands a lawyer, expecting that to instantly shut the interrogation down. The cop literally laughs "oh, you watch crime TV huh?" She notes just because a suspect asks for a lawyer doesn't mean they get one instantly and keeps interrogating her.
  • Underestimating Badassery: The gals see the owners of a Native American casino they have to work with as just an old man and his trophy wife who sucks oxygen and can easily handle them. They don't realize the duo are stone-cold killers who are shown torturing someone who crossed them and don't take well to being blackmailed.
  • Wham Shot: In Season 4, episode 7, Desna is showing up to meet a criminal contact at the post office...only to see that contact be arrested by DEA agents who include Desna's boyfriend.
  • Yandere: The square-dancing rabbi Jenn slept with becomes obsessed with her, especially after she patches things up with her husband.