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Series / Clickbait

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Clickbait is a drama/thriller mini series created by Tony Ayres & Christian White that debuted on Netflix in August 2021.

Family man Nick Brewer (Adrian Grenier) is abducted after a fight with his sister Pia (Zoe Kazan). After he is seemingly abducted, he appears online with a message accusing him of rape and saying that, at five million views, he's going to die. His wife Sophie (Betty Gabriel) and Pia race to uncover the truth.


  • A Day in the Limelight: Each episode title makes one character of the show the focus.
  • Ambition Is Evil: One of the major themes in both Ben and Roshan's episodes, though it is much more overt in the former's episode since his boyfriend seems to break up with him over it.
  • Ax-Crazy: Simon's accomplice Darryl is very excited about torturing Nick.
  • Bland-Name Product: QueriNow is one for Google.
  • The Bully: When Sophie's sons return to school, a bully by the name Michael Hastings calls out to the eldest and accuses his mom of sleeping with the entire faculty.
  • Catfishing: Nick is revealed to have been cheating on Sophie, creating profiles on dating websites with fake names and getting into relationships with several women. Though it turns out that the true catfisher was Nick's coworker, Dawn, who had access to Nick's data after secretly backing up the contents of his phone to a computer at their worksite; she photoshopped photos of Nick and Sophie to edit in the catfished women, and shared details of Nick's life with the women (including Sophie's affair, which Nick told Dawn in confidence). It turns out that Nick never cheated at all, and one of the catfished women, Emma, simply lied about having physically met Nick's fake persona, Danny. Dawn reveals to her husband that she pretended to be Nick and catfished the women out of simple loneliness and a desire to be seen as attractive like Nick.
    • One of the catfished women, Sarah Burton, engaged in this herself, creating a profile with the fake name Maggie Oxley, which actually belonged to a cat at the bookstore she worked at.
  • Clear Their Name: Pia continuously refuses to believe the accusations against Nick, and tries to clear his name. In the penultimate episode, Nick's son Ethan also works to prove his father's innocence. They succeed.
    • Nick attempts to clear his own name after realizing that the catfisher using his likeness and information on dating sites is his coworker Dawn, going to her house and attempting to make her confess to everything to the police. It just gets him killed by Dawn's husband.
  • Clickbait Gag: Played for drama as Nick's video is given a deadline that he will die at 5 million hits.
  • The Corrupter: Simon's friend and accomplice Darryl eggs him on to kidnap Nick and is the one to escalate the situation by putting the 5 million view condition to killing Nick.
  • Cowboy Cop: Roshan is accused of this by his superior for withholding information, going off on his own, and generally not being a team player. And from what we see of Roshan in the first two episodes, he's not exactly wrong.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: One of the possible motives as to why Nick was abducted and murdered. Specifically, that Sophie's once affair partner Curtis killed him after Sophie ended their relationship months ago.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Partial example. Ultimately, Nick's kidnapping can be traced back to Dawn, Nick's sweet, middle-aged female coworker, who backed up data from Nick's phone onto a computer at their worksite, and used the photos, and information Nick shared with her about his life, to catfish women on dating sites. However, things spiraled out of control when Dawn's callous comments lead to one of the catfished women, Sarah Burton, committing suicide, driving her enraged brother Simon to kidnap Nick. Later on, it turns out Nick's true killer was Dawn's husband, with the two of them burying his body. After Dawn's house is revealed as the catfisher's location, the two of them kidnap and almost kill Kai as well.
  • Driven to Suicide: Sarah Burton, after Nick (or rather, Dawn catfishing Sarah as "Jeremy Wilkerson", using Nick's pictures) callously breaks up with her.
    • Nick and Pia's father also committed suicide when they were kids, with the two of them having discovered the body. Because of this, when the Brewers learn of Sarah Burton's suicide, Pia is adamant that Nick could not be responsible. She's right.
  • Fatal Flaw: Nick's end up being his recklessness/impulsiveness and anger. Though Nick turns out to be innocent of all the accusations against him, his anger issues led to him getting arrested for assault as a teen, and getting into an argument with Pia the night before he disappears, among other things, giving credence to those accusations. When Nick is ultimately released by his kidnapper, Simon, rather than returning home or going to the police, he goes straight to the home of his coworker Dawn, who he realizes has been catfishing him. He attempts to force her to go to the police with him to confess, which ultimately gets him killed by Dawn's husband.
    • Kai is similar, as he gets into a fight with a bully which nearly gets him expelled and Sophie fired from her job at their high school. When he sees the address of the catfisher who has been pretending to be Nick, he goes to the address alone, hoping to get revenge. He ultimately gets kidnapped and almost killed by Dawn and her husband.
  • Immoral Journalist: Ben Park chases his story with morally questionable methods, breaking into the homes of both Nick's family and Sarah Burton, one of the women Nick, or rather Dawn, dated online. To add insult to injury, Ben proceeds to interview Sophie on live TV after said break-in, revealing Sarah Burton's suicide to her right on air. However, his methods did end up discovering the true identities of Sarah and Simon Burton, the latter being Nick's kidnapper, albeit at the cost of his relationship with his boyfriend.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode is named after the character who plays the most prominent role in that episode (with the arguable exception of the last episode, "The Answer", which focuses on revealing Nick's disappearance in its entirety and everybody responsible.)
  • Intrepid Reporter: Ben Park is this, chasing the story through episode 4.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Simon towards his sister Sarah, spying on her through her laptop to check on her, although he's genuinely happy when she gets into a relationship with Nick/"Jeremy"/Dawn, because it seems her life is improving. His Knight Templar tendencies extend to the point that he kidnaps and abuses Nick when Sarah commits suicide after he seemingly dumps her via text. Though he ultimately doesn't kill Nick after Nick convinces him he wasn't responsible for Sarah's death.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Emma's car gets railed into a dumpster by the Mastermind in Episode 4 in this fashion.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: In the course of investigation into Nick's kidnapping, it is eventually revealed that Sophie was cheating on him with a fellow teacher at her school. Afterward, it's revealed that Nick subsequently cheated on her as well, seemingly driven to do so by the affair. Nick was never actually cheating at all, and his coworker Dawn was using his pictures to catfish women online.
  • Mistaken Identity: Pia is thought to be Nick's wife when she comes in with her black sister in-law, Sophie.
  • The Mistress: Episode 4 is titled this and appropriately follows Nick's mistress Emma Beesly as she learns about Nick's kidnapping, goes to San Francisco to see the Brewer family for herself, and finally give whatever information she has to the police and reporters. Subverted since Nick never actually cheated.
    • Sophie's own affair partner, Curtis Hamilton, becomes a suspect once the affair is revealed.
  • Murder by Mistake: Played with in order to mask The Reveal of who Nick's murderer is. Simon kidnaps Nick because Nick's online relationship with Simon's sister, Sarah caused her to kill herself and the audience is made to believe that he killed him. However, we learn in the following episode that 1) Simon didn't kill Nick and 2) Nick's photos were being used by a catfisher on a slew of dating websites and Nick never even cheated to begin with. The final twist is that Simon never killed Nick at all - he ultimately lets him go after Nick convinces him that he wasn't responsible for his sister's death.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Nick's password in his computer is "butchbrewer", which was his childhood hamster. It's how he knew Dawn was the one who had ruined his life.
  • Red Herring: Multiple in the course of the investigation of Nick's kidnapping and death. Curtis Hamilton, Sophie's fellow teacher and affair partner, was the first suspect, and, aside from getting into a brief fight with Nick, had nothing to do with the case. Simon Burton is eventually revealed to have kidnapped Nick, and is naturally assumed to be Nick's killer and arrested, but it turns out he actually didn't kill Nick and let him go. Lastly, Nick's coworker Matt, who is revealed to have harassed and posted revenge porn of a woman from the college volleyball team online, is briefly set up by the show as a suspect due to having Nick's information on his laptop (not helped by his waiting for Pia outside her residence) but it turns out he too had nothing to do with Nick's killing, and had Nick's photos planted on his computer by Dawn. Nick's actual killer is Dawn's husband, who walked in on Nick accosting her and attempting to make her confess to her catfishing.
    • Ethan's online friend AL, who comforts him throughout after Nick's kidnapping and never reveals any information about themselves, including their appearance. Ethan is briefly concerned that AL could be somebody sinister, but they ultimately turn out to be Alison, an innocent reclusive girl, who helps Ethan solve the mysteries behind his father's kidnapping and death.
    • Technically all of Nick's "mistresses" are this as well, since none of them ever met Nick in real life and had actually been in relationships with a catfisher.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Pia is blunt and impulsive, whereas Sophie is usually more stoic.
    • The Brewer sons also get this treatment. The eldest, Ethan takes after his mom and is more withdrawn, non-confrontational, tightly wound. The younger one, Kai, seems to have some of his father's anger issues from when he was younger, exhibiting some mild Ax Craziness upon hearing their father is dead, vowing to slit the throat of the murderer, and later on decking The Bully antagonizing his older brother giving him a bloody nose. Later on, he goes alone to the catfish's address, ultimately getting him kidnapped and almost killed
    • The Burton siblings could also apply. Sarah is energetic, passionate and flightly, while Simon is more introverted and secretive, spying on Sarah to watch over her life.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Done by the kidnapper, Simon Burton, driven by grief after his sister's death. However, he ends up not actually killing Nick, ultimately letting him go free after Nick convinces him that someone was pretending to be him and kidnap Sarah.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Reporter Ben Park. He doesn't do much outside of his own focus episode, to the point where he doesn't even appear after the end of his episode, but his investigations into the women Nick dated or rather, the women the catfisher Dawn dated, leads to Sarah Burton and her brother Simon, the man who ultimately kidnapped Nick.
  • Something Only They Would Say: After being kidnapped, Nick realizes that the person who pretended to be him and catfished Sarah Burton and other women was his very own coworker, Dawn, because Sarah and her brother knew details of Nick's life, including that Nick had been cheated on by his wife, a fact that Nick shared with Dawn and nobody else.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The catfisher, Dawn, who used Nick's pictures to create fake profiles on dating websites and pursued Sarah Burton and other women. Dawn did so not maliciously, but rather out of loneliness and a desire to be attractive like Nick. After a fight with her husband, a furious Dawn angrily and callously ends the affair with Sarah, leading Sarah to kill herself, causing Sarah's brother Simon to kidnap Nick for revenge, kicking off the plot and ultimately getting Nick killed, upending the Brewers' lives, exposing them to public ridicule and the magnifying glass of tabloid news, and eventually almost getting Kai kidnapped and killed too.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Detective Roshan believes he's been passed over for a promotion to Homicide due to his being a Muslim, but De Luca explains that it's actually because of his Cowboy Cop tendencies. He ends up being promoted after he tones them down.