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Series / Constantine (2014)
aka: Constantine

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Giving Hell...hell.

Dr. Roger Huntoon: We're all powerless against demons.
John Constantine: Not all of us, chief.
Episode 1, "Non Est Asylum"

Constantine is a 2014 Urban Fantasy TV series which debuted in October on NBC, an adaptation of the DC Comics comic book Hellblazer. It is the second attempt to bring the comic to live action, after the 2005 film of the same name.

The series stars John Constantine (played by Matt Ryan), a "Master of the Dark Arts" ("I should change that to 'Petty Dabbler', I hate to put on airs") for hire, a deeply flawed man haunted by the mistakes of his past, stuck in a crusade against the Legions of Hell. Aiding in his quest are Mary "Zed" Martin (played by Angélica Celaya), a mysterious psychic whose visions lead her to join forces with John, and Chas Chandler, John's oldest friend (played by Charles Halford). The first season is a loose adaptation of the "American Gothic" storyline that first introduced Constantine in Swamp Thing, with some elements, plots and characters lifted from the first volume of the Hellblazer comic.

The series' pilot was accidentally leaked online. Among other changes, the official premiere had a revised ending - the creators wrote out the original female lead, Liv Aberdine (played by Lucy Griffiths), the daughter of an old friend of Constantine's, and replaced her with Zed.

Despite its online popularity, the fans' best efforts, and the huge #SaveConstantine presence on social media, NBC canceled the show after 13 episodes. Constantine showrunner Daniel Cerone tweeted that Warner Bros. was attempting to find the show a new home for a second season, but one month later he announced that Warner Bros. had been unable to sell the series elsewhere and thus had released the writers and cast from their contracts, rendering the show cancelled for good.

Constantine was one of three live-action DC Comics shows to premiere in 2014, along with The CW's The Flash and FOX's Gotham. Though being on different networks originally made crossovers seem unlikely, Matt Ryan reprised his role as John Constantine on the fifth episode of Season 4 of Arrow, retroactively placing this show in continuity with The Arrowverse. Rights complications however initially prevented Constantine from appearing again, but on January 8th, 2017 it was announced that the show is coming back as an animated show on CW Seed called Constantine: City of Demons with Matt Ryan again voicing the character. Tropes for that show should go here. He was also Promoted to Opening Titles for Legends of Tomorrow - contingent on the series getting renewed after a (highly) acclaimed season 3. Overall, 2018 would see Constantine hold the distinction of becoming the first character to be the title protagonist of three shows. note 

The original live-action series can be streamed on CW Seed for free.

Constantine provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: "Danse Voudou" finds Chas in Louisiana investigating occult murders done with a blade. He even takes his Yellow Crown Cab Co. car with him.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Chas has an active role in Constantine's good deeds and is fairly competent at helping out even besides his immortality. In the source material, he is more often than not simply roped into the insane things that go on around Constantine, often only to the extent of being press-ganged into being John's driver, and is ill-equipped to handle the supernatural. His wife Rene also gets an upgrade, going from extremely abrasive, controlling and rarely sympathetic to being generally unsupportive but understandably so, considering how things look from her perspective.
    • Gary Lester is made more sympathetic than his comic counterpart, who was much less accepting of being the host for binding Mnemoth inside of. Constantine himself also comes off better; in the comic, he doesn't sit by Gary's side so he wouldn't have to be alone while being eaten alive, either.
    • It's easy to imagine the comic version of Papa Midnite working to fix things when his magic goes off the rails and brings the dead back as ghosts who cause havoc for practical reasons. When this actually happens in the show, however, he seems to have at least some genuine concern for the people who are caught in the middle. Further, in "Waiting for the Man," while he uses his dead sister for information, he also seems to be actively trying to bring her back. In the comics, he not only would never willingly give up her use as a tool, she has to team up with Constantine to escape him.
    • John. His addiction to magic and meddling with forces mankind was not meant to know is downplayed to, instead, focus exclusively on the Newcastle Incident as his motivation. This version of John is The Atoner and wants to make up for his crimes (as well as avoid damnation) versus the John who is a rebel without a cause. This isn't that far from some comic portrayals of John, albeit significantly Lighter and Softer.
  • Adaptation Title Change: As with the 2005 film, the show is an adaptation of the Vertigo Comics series Hellblazer.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "Quid Pro Quo" is primarily focused on Chas and his backstory.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Played for drama in "The Rage of Caliban." Constantine tries to warn the teacher watching some school kids at recess that one of them is beating up on another; the teacher immediately assumes Constantine is stalking the children, even calling out the trenchcoat. He focuses so much on this that he doesn't see the harassment until it's escalated to the possessed child injuring the bully so badly he ends up in the hospital.
  • All Therapists Are Muggles: This is actually the point of Constantine checking into a mental institution. He doesn't want to know demons are real any more.
    Doctor: There are no demons—
    Constantine: SO YOU KEEP TELLING ME! Now make me believe.
  • Aloof Leader, Affable Subordinate: Constantine is dedicated to fighting evil, and doesn't much care whose feelings he hurts in the process. This leaves his driver Chaz in the position of apologizing for John's bluntness or comforting the victims whose feelings John doesn't have time for.
  • And I Must Scream: The likely fate of the drug dealers Constantine stops from beating up Gary Lester; he gives them some of Nommo's powerful psychotropic substance as recompense for Gary's behavior, minus the information that the effects are permanent without something to counteract it.
  • Anti-Magic: In "The Devil's Vinyl", Papa Midnite nullifies Constantine's magic by chaining him to a copper grate.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Exaggerated; Chas eventually realizes that the best way to deal with a stabby ghost is to ask it any question whatsoever, preventing it from asking the question it prefaces its attacks with and confusing it. This is based on actual lore on how to deal with that type of ghost.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: To save the doctor who was possessed by a fragment of the Black Diamond, Manny takes him to Heaven stating his work is done and his fight was over. He vanished in a flash of light, leaving the remaining fragments behind.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The miner who got burned to death in the shower was implied to be abusive to his wife and was considered a bastard by the rest of his employees. And the wife herself is no prize pigeon either, as she kills three people and tries to kill John when he tries to stop her from killing more.
    • While possessed by demon Pazuzu, John kills eight people in an extremely violent way. However, they were all violent members of a ruthless gang with no one to mourn for them, so no What the Hell, Hero? is required.
    • The patient with the skin grafts, Morris, was rude and abusive to the doctors and everyone else. It got him killed.
    • The Satanist in the season 1 finale kept child brides (who were zombies he kept animated). John and Jim Corrigan agree he's better off dead than alive.
  • Astral Projection: Anna Marie is capable of doing this.
  • The Atoner: Gary Lester felt so guilty over his role in things that he wanted to do something to make up for it. He dies becoming the new vessel to hold in the Hunger Demon.
    • "Danse Vaudou" has three women (a grandmother whose grandson died in a car accident after she kicked him out of the house; a model who lost control and disfigured another model in a blind rage, leading to her suicide; and a wife whose husband died of cancer while she was away) whose guilt is enough to drive them to consult Papa Midnite to try to talk to those they wronged. Unfortunately, it's also enough to raise those people from the dead and turn two of them into monsters who kill anyone who happens upon them and the third into a being that makes his wife sick instead of himself.
    • Anna Marie turned to pledging her service to a convent to repent for what happened in Newcastle.
    • John, himself, appears to be primarily motivated by the Newcastle Incident in order to help other people. It's helped along by his fear, if he doesn't, he'll be damned forever.
  • Audience Surrogate: This seems to be Liv's role in the pilot, being a normal woman with no knowledge of the supernatural dragged into Constantine's world. Zed serves a similar role upon replacing her; while in the comics she's a Pagan sorceress, this version is nowhere near as experienced and some exposition takes the form of Constantine teaching her more about the occult.
  • Badass Boast: While banishing Furcifer back to Hell at the end of the pilot, Constantine tells him to spread the word when he gets there — Constantine's coming to get his revenge on Nergal and save Astra's soul and nothing is going to stop him.
  • Badass Longcoat: The trenchcoat John wears for most of the show is badass, yes, but not that long. In the season finale "Waiting for The Man," John upgrades to a true-to-the-comics long trenchcoat.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: Manny rips out a Fallen Angel heart and it continues to beat.
  • Big Bad: Something John describes as "the rising darkness" that's causing all the problems to date just by proximity. It turns out to be an ancient coven of warlocks called the Brujeria, which have been missing for centuries.
  • Bigger on the Inside: John's hideout, the Mill House that was left behind for him to use by Liv.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Liv has the ability to see trapped souls. Sometimes they look normal (albeit deathly pale), and other times they're full-on demonic. The worst thing is when Liv sees her Nana's ghost. It is pleasant at first, to see her Nana standing behind Liv's mother, lovingly stroking her hair. But then Nana's eyes become black voids and her mouth gapes open, spilling black goo, which terrifies Liv.
    • Zed is an empath who can't always control her ability. Also, it turns out that her psychic abilities are caused by a tumor in her brain.
  • Blood Oath: How a pact between mages is made. They cast a spell that slits their palms and then shake on it, making it a binding agreement.
  • Blue-Collar Warlock: John is the Trope Codifier.
  • Bowdlerise: Interviews have confirmed Constantine will not smoke on-screen. The writers are doing their best to work around the limitation, like only showing cigarettes being stubbed out in the pilot, or having Chas dryly remark that John ought to be an expert in a divination spell that uses smoke. By the later episodes, he's shown clearly smoking but with his back to the camera, or shown directly with a lit cigarette in his mouth, but not inhaling.
    • "The Saint of Last Resorts" Constantine is clearly seen lighting up a cigarette and takes at least one puff.
    • His smoking increases as the series goes on. In the season finale, he's smoking more than he's not, even cracking jokes about lung cancer.
  • Brown Note: The record in "The Devil's Vinyl" drives anyone who listens to it to die.
  • But Not Too Bi: John Constantine, who is just seen vaguely flirting with Papa Midnite and is only ever shown hooking up with women, with only lip service being paid to his attraction to men.
  • Came Back Wrong: In "Danse Vandou" Papa Midnight promised to let grieving people speak again with their loved ones... who stay around a bit longer for some very bloody R&R.
  • Canon Foreigner: Liv Aberdine is a new character, not from the original Hellblazer canon.
  • Cast from Lifespan: John casts a few necessary spells that he says have taken a week or two off his life.
  • Cessation of Existence: If an angel dies, they cease to be. Simple as that.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In "Quid Pro Quo", Constantine entraps Zed with the sinew of Achilles's heel. Later on, Chas uses the sinew to entrap Felix Faust and pulled a Taking You with Me, but Chas has a few more lives to spare while Faust doesn't.
  • Cliffhanger: Unavoidable due to the show's cancellation The final scene of the show had Manny reveal to Papa Midnite that he was the one behind the rising darkness and that John was to be left unharmed. And then the show was cancelled.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Lampshaded; Constantine notes that of all the alleyways for the unnamed man that has Mnemoth bound to him to stumble into after escaping his restraints, it just had to be the one Gary Lester would soon stumble into as well.
  • The Corruption: Whatever evil is lurking about and making dark forces rise also runs the risk of corrupting others.
  • Creepy Child: Henry, the possessed boy in "Rage of Caliban."
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Gary has to die with a Hunger Demon eating him from the inside out to get rid of it. The process will take days.
  • Curse That Cures: John is forced to allow Pazuzu to possess him, knowing that it would heal his gunshot wound.
  • Cutting the Knot: Zed, Chas, and Anna need to get into the prison to help John. Zed poses as a prostitute and bribes her way in, Chas simply hits a guard and gets dragged in, and Anna Marie simply walked in because as a member of the Church she can enter to give those in need spiritual healing. Considering John was possessed and killed a number of gang members, they were more than a bit inclined to believe it.
  • Crossover: This version of Constantine has popped up in Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow.
  • Damsel out of Distress: In "Waiting For The Man", Vesta escapes from "The Man" long enough for Constantine and the gang to find her.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Constantine, as in the comic. See his reaction to being called a "Master of the Dark Arts," for example.
  • Dead Person Conversation: John does this a few times, mostly using the Hand of Glory. Gary Lester possessed a corpse later on to tell John he has a bounty on his head.
  • Deal with the Devil: In the third episode a woman sold her soul to a Soul Broker working with Papa Midnite in order to cure her husband's cancer twenty years ago. To break it they had to make the broker eat the contract literally.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: The group needs to get into a hospital to investigate a case, so naturally Chas ends up having to stab himself with a screwdriver and then worsening the wound afterwards to draw more attention.
  • Demonic Possession: To save his life after Anna Marie shoots him, John forces a demon into himself.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: They need to get John's comatose body out of prison, but the guard is the one who Chas had attacked. Anna Marie uses her Astral Projection to show a topless version of herself to distract the guard instead.
  • Domain Holder: Jacob Shaw controls his own world, an alternate dimension that can be accessed (spiritually, not physically) with an Egyptian spell. It consists of a house that he built and can control. Once someone accesses it, he can drag their soul back in whenever they look into a reflective surface. He can kill their real bodies by killing their spirit bodies, and then bring their spiritual selves back from the dead as many times as he wants. Someone can rewrite his reality if they know the principles of other planes of existence—like Ritchie.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Zed's attitude toward her given name. She punches the first person who says it.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi: In "Angels and Ministers of Grace", Manny ends up having sex with the co-worker/secret lover of his vessel. The whole situation is played for laughs and Constantine is amused when Manny is guilty about it.
  • The Dreaded: When John ends up in a Mexican prison, the inmates nickname him "El Diablo" and he is given free run of the prison by prisoners and guards alike. He inspires such fear because he is possessed by a Demon King that takes control when threatened and rips people limb-from-limb.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Zed sees John in her dreams and then draws it, thinking he's only a dream until she runs into him.
  • Dropped After the Pilot: Certain scenes related to Liv staying with the group were dropped after the pilot episode so that Zed could appear.
  • Dug Too Deep: What the miners believed happened. They dug too deep into the mine and dug up something.
  • Emergency Transformation: In "The Saint of Last Resorts", Constantine intentionally lets himself be possessed by a demon to keep from getting killed by a different demon.
  • The Empath: Zed can pick up visions and strong emotions via contact with other substances and people.
  • Enemy Mine: John and Papa Midnite have to do an exorcism involving Grave Robbing to fix Midnite's botched seances.
  • Equivalent Exchange: Magic has many elements of this throughout the series.
    • A woman's dead husband brought back to life through a botched voodoo ritual starts to drain her life force.
    • A preacher who gains a seemingly divine ability to heal the sick winds up causing the environment around his town to wither and become corrupted, and the people he heals become mindless zombies.
    • A man must trap and put down a demon permanently by allowing it to possess his body and then die slowly and painfully after performing the right ritual.
    • A woman uses gypsy magic to raise earth spirits who are really the souls of dead miners to do her bidding, first by killing her husband. It bites her in the ass when one of the spirits later turns out to be her murdered husband.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: A dog goes nuts when it is near a possessed child and tries to attack him.
  • Evil Twin: During the climax of the first episode, Furcifer takes on the form of a demonic version of Constantine, in order to mock how he's damned.
  • Fanservice: There are several scenes through the season in which John is at least partially shirtless. Zed could also be considered as such, since she may not be shirtless but certainly doesn't dress conservatively.
  • First Love: Anna Marie is John's.
  • Fridge Logic: In-universe; when Nommo tells John that the hallucinogen they're going to use is permanent without something to counteract it, he shows John a counteragent. Just after John takes the drug, he wonders how they're supposed to use the counteragent if they're both tripping balls. It turns out Nommo is simply clear-headed enough to use it even while under the effects.
  • Glamour: Constantine casts this spell to fool Lamashtu into thinking a chicken is a baby.
  • God's Hands Are Tied: Manny explains that once mankind was given free will, Angels, who embody His will, can no longer provide direct intervention.
  • Good Is Impotent: Manny's hands are tied, as any interference more direct than essentially being John's recruiter is considered interfering with humanity's free will. In later episodes he shows a willingness to interfere and suffer whatever punishment will result if the situation is extreme enough, like when Imogen turns out to be fallen and Manny destroys her himself. The fact that he's the Big Bad probably stops him from helping John more than anything.
  • Good Is Not Soft: John works on the principle that no price is too high to save the innocent. To that end he sacrifices others, even going so far as to threaten to do the same to a baby, in order to get it done.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Though network standards make it so he is not allowed to smoke on-screen, the lighter Constantine carries and the fact that he put out a cigarette on an ashtray that already has several more on it indicates that, like his comic version, Constantine is a smoker, showing his "bad good guy" attitude.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: Played with; a fallen angel initially has the same white angel wings as Manny, but when she reveals herself to be a Fallen Angel her wings turn completely black. Manny gets the implication immediately.
  • Grave Robbing: John Constantine and Papa Midnite go and steal three corpses so they can lay their ghosts to rest.
  • Hand of Glory: John owns one. It can wake the dead for as long as the candle burns, but it takes a few days off the user's life.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The widow killed her husband only for Constantine to call up his spirit to drag her to her death.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Ritchie manages to shut down Atlanta's power grid with a few keystrokes.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Constantine invokes multiple religions during his exorcisms.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: This version of Chas gets his hands dirty alongside John. Zed quickly proves herself an asset from the third episode on.
  • I Know Your True Name: Constantine notes that he would need the actual name of the child spirit in "Rage of Caliban" to get it to stop its murder spree and cross over. Since for all he knows the spirit has been around for a century or more beyond the first recorded killing they've attributed to it, he has no way of learning its name and thus must resort to cruder methods of getting it out of its current host. Constantine eventually learns that the spirit is actually the first child they found in the records, who was not originally possessed, but killed his horribly Abusive Parents and fled his body from the trauma. Armed with the spirit's name, Constantine returns it to its still living body.
  • In Name Only: The depiction of Felix Faust. One is an Atlantean wizard of immeasurable power, the other is a geriatric has been who steals souls to become better.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Constantine at the end of the pilot.
  • Invisibility: Felix Faust covers an old train yard building with a cloaking spell.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Chas is the recipient of this courtesy of a demonically controlled electrical cable. He gets better.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: Played straight with a "Psychic paper" effect with a playing card, although it was explained as an artifact, rather than a mental trick.
  • Kill the Host Body: This is the only means of defeating a powerful hunger demon. A human vessel must be chosen for the hunger demon to be held captive in, before the hunger demon consumes the host and ends up killing them as well as the demon along with it. After Gary mistakenly exorcises the vessel of the demon, John has Gary take the vessel's place where the demon consumes him over several days.
  • Lighter and Softer: To Hellblazer but not the original Constantine appearances in Swamp Thing or his New 52 portrayal.
  • Literal Metaphor: In the third episode, it turns out that when a soul-broker has to break a contract, they literally eat the contract.
    Constantine: Where do you think the saying comes from?
  • Ley Line: Psychic and electromagnetic highways that enable ghosts to travel them easier.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Gary Lester was one, and John mentions that he bought their friendship and its why the others kept him around.
  • Made of Evil: The Black Diamond is the calcified power for a dark sorcerer from just before the biblical flood. Fragments of it are scattered around the globe, and they corrupt those that come in contact with it.
  • Magnetic Hero: Like his comic counterpart, Constantine attracts others who just wanted to be like him. And just like in the comic they end up suffering for it.
  • Mail-Order Bride: The widow of the first miner who burns to death in his shower was one of these. Turns out she is the one who killed him with Romani Magic that calls dead spirits of miners back up and into her power.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The Brujería is thought to be behind the rising darkness until The Stinger reveals Manny is the one behind them.
  • Master of None: Despite claiming to be a Master of the Dark Arts, while he has training in a vast number of them he isn't proficient in higher-level things. Papa Midnight even calls him such, specifically a "Jackass of all trades, master of none."
  • Meat Puppet: In "Waiting For The Man", Papa Midnite uses the sort-of-resurrected body of one of his mooks to go after Constantine. Later on in the episode, Constantine does the same thing with a fully-dead murder victim.
  • Mind over Matter: The serial killing ghost that uses children as a host gives them this.
  • Mirror Monster: Jacob Shaw, who can pull those who use a ritual of his devising into his own world.
  • Morton's Fork: One of the ghosts in "Danse Vaudou" draws from the Japanese myth of the kuchisake-onna, appearing as a beautiful woman wearing a surgical mask who confronts people to ask if they think she's pretty. If they say no, she stabs them to death in a rage; if they say yes, she reveals her mutilated face and asks if they think she's pretty now. If they continue to say yes, she 'makes them pretty like her' and stabs them to death. As in the original legend, the only way to avoid being stabbed is to avoid answering the question at all.
  • Moving the Goalposts: Because Constantine destroyed a demon rather than banish it back to hell like he agreed Felix Faust uses it to keep him under his thumb or sacrifice Chas' daughter. Chas realizes this and just kills the man.
  • My Card: Constantine has one that states he is an "Exorcist, Occultist, and Master of the Dark Arts". Though he keeps saying he's going to have that last part changed.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Liv gets hit with this after she realizes that her lack of action in following up on her scrying leads to a young boy being brutally murdered. This results in her being Dropped After the Pilot.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • Constantine considers this to be a case he was working on in England, which resulted in a young girl being torn apart in front of him. He attempted to Summon Bigger Fish in order to deal with the possessed girl, only to lose control of the demon he summoned, resulting in it tearing the girl body to pieces and dragging her soul to hell. He starts the series in an asylum because of it.
    • The same goes for all of his old friends who were there. Gary, for instance, was high when the ritual began and ran and hid under a bed while Astra was dragged into hell.
    • Papa Midnite did something to his little sister that led to her death.
    • Anna Marie feels that introducing Constantine to the world of the occult was her greatest failure given he took the path to hell.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Zed senses when angels are around by hallucinating falling coins.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The narration from the end of the first episode is lifted line for line (aside from some omissions) from Garth Ennis' first issue of Hellblazer.
    • John gets into an argument with a bartender about who is more influential, The Ramones or The Sex Pistols, and Ritchie has a Johnny Rotten painting in his office. Punk music is a major part of Constantine's life, specifically when he saw The Clash perform. In "The Devil's Vinyl," John listens to The Ramones near the beginning of the episode while practicing a new spell. In the end, he listens to The Sex Pistols to drown out the evil record's magic.
    • His last name is pronounced "Constan-TEEN" like in the movie, rather than "Constan-TYNE" like in the comics.
    • John yells, "I'm a nasty piece of work, chief. Ask anybody." in the pilot. He said the same thing in The Saga of the Swamp Thing #37, one of his earliest appearances.
    • In the pilot, when Liv asks John where he comes from, he wryly answers "The sordid passions of my parents," paraphrasing Zed Martin in Hellblazer #4. At the end of "The Darkness Beneath", Zed quotes another line from Hellblazer #4 nearly word for word.
    • The helmet in Liv's father's cabin looks a lot like the Helmet of Nabu, in fact, John sternly tells Liv to put the Helmet of Nabu down before it puts her down first.
    • Behind the helmet you can see the Ibistick of Ibis the Invincible. Pandora's Box can also be seen on a shelf.
    • Calling the phone number given by this post on the series' official Tumblr took the caller to Constantine's voicemail. If they were looking for Alec Holland, he said, they would do better to look in the bloody swamp.
    • Liv's father is Jasper Winters, possibly Baron Winters from DC's Nightforce comics.
    • In the pilot, Furcifer takes on the form of an evil-looking, damned version of Constantine to taunt him. In the comics, John has an actual Evil Twin, the Demon Constantine, who often looks similarly hellish.
    • Zed's paintings include: several comic covers including the cover for Hellblazer #001, Ironfist the Avenger, and Mnemoth.
    • In "The Devil's Vinyl," The Devil is referred to as "The First of the Fallen" a few times. The Devil who appears in Hellblazer, is called The First of the Fallen to distinguish him from the other Devil in DC Comics: Lucifer.
    • In "Danse Vaudou," the first time a driver picks up Phillip the hitchhiker, it plays out like a scene from Hellblazer: Confessional where a young Constantine was the hitchhiker, and Phillip, an older man, was the driver. In both scenes, the driver asks the hitchhiker if there's anyone expecting him because the driver is intent on sexually assaulting the hitchhiker. Both scenes also end in a car crash. The main difference is that while Constantine in the comic was traumatized by the incident, the hitchhiker in the show's version is far more dangerous than the driver.
    • Also in the "Danse Vaudou", Zed has a vision of Jim Corrigan bleeding with a green aura glowing around him. This is a nod to Jim's future alter ego, The Spectre.
    • In "The Rage of Caliban", Chas holds the Sword of Night, a very important DC artifact, belonging to the entity Nightmaster. In a flashback, Chas says he and John saved a family from being eviscerated by "the Monkey King," a demon that appeared in Swamp Thing.
    • In the same episode, Constantine wryly comments to Manny he never punched an angel before, which may be a reference to one of the most iconic scenes of the movie, where Constantine punches Gabriel until she spits blood.
    • The Monster of the Week in "Waiting for the Man" is from the comic that introduced John's niece, Gemma. Gemma is absent and replaced with a Victim of the Week who fills the same role in the plot, however.
    • Fans of The Atom are likely to be familiar with Ivy University, where Contantine's friend Ritchie teaches; however, this version of the university is based in Atlanta instead of the fictional, mid-Atlantic/New England town of Ivy Town.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: John summoning a Demon King into himself is pretty much this to everyone but Zed. John put the entire world at risk to save his own life.
    • Gary Lester's whole story both in-show and in-comics is this. He was just trying to help!
    • Indeed, the Newcastle incident by itself is one gigantic version of this. An attempt by John to help gone horribly-horribly wrong due to his ego.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: "The Devil's Vinyl" has the titular vinyl created by a musician who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for success, as urban myth holds Robert Johnson had done.
  • No Gravity for You: The millhouse has a zero gravity trap for intruders.
  • Non-Action Guy: In a sense, Manny. He can not say or do anything that might interfere with human free will. A fallen angel physically manifesting on Earth finally prompts him to possess Zed and take action, but he broke the rules to do so and faces punishment for it.
  • No Name Given: The title character in "Waiting For The Man" is credited simply as "The Man".
  • Noodle Incident: Chas has a warrant in Philadelphia from an incident involving a Succubus and a train that led to it being derailed.
  • Oh, Crap!: Papa Midnite goes through several of these one after another in the last scene of "Waiting for the Man."
  • One-Word Title: Protagonist's last name.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: in "Danse Vaudou," Papa Midnite's demeanor radically changes when he learns Constantine is telling the truth about his magic to allow grieving people to talk to their lost loved ones unintentionally bringing them back as murderous ghosts.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Matt Ryan's Welsh accent frequently overpowers his assumed Northern English.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Angels in Constantine have incredible superhuman abilities, especially strength and speed, and they are marked just behind the ear with their names in Angelic script tattoos. They can also be killed by having their hearts removed and they have a tendency to wear black, or at least dark colors. They also know the names of all living beings, as they are able to see their names imprinted upon their souls, in reference to traditional mythology regarding Angels.
  • Our Demons Are Different:
    • Hunger demons instil their victims with Horror Hunger and they eat anything and everything before it leaves their body to die and find a new host.
    • Other Demons in the show have to possess bodies in order to do anything. The few demons that we see that are not in Human forms are incredibly powerful and dangerous.
  • Our Souls Are Different: They are the purest form of God's Love and so the devil takes them to give the finger to him for kicking him out.
  • Post-Modern Magik: Pops up at least once in the series. In one episode, the Devil arrives to claim a victim's soul, and his voice is recorded on an acetate. Anyone who listens to this acetate is then killed with their soul sent straight to Hell.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Human souls are extremely powerful sources of magical power as demonstrated by Chas's inability to die by having 47 souls in him, and Felix Faust's new-found power by sucking souls from people.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Inverted Trope. In the third episode, Constantine says that Zed's ability to discern impressions from tactile stimuli is probably "a buzzkill in the sack".
  • Powers via Possession: In "Rage of Caliban", the ghost that inhabits the children gives them telekinetic powers, which it uses to kill their parents.
  • Product Placement: Since the show was originally broadcast by NBC, news broadcasts seen on TV are from NBC affiliates. Atlanta's WXIA was used in "A Feast of Friends" while New York's WNBC was used in "Quid Pro Quo".
  • Protagonist Title: Protagonist's last name.
  • Protective Charm: A couple of these going around. For example, John has protections against demonic possession, which he removes to allow Pazuzu to possess him.
  • Psychometry: Zed's visions are sometimes triggered by the contact of an object, such as the blood map left by Liv.
  • Race Lift:
    • Mary "Zed" Martin, a white Englishwoman in the comics, is played by Mexican-American actress Angélica Celaya.
    • Astra Logue, who is white in original Hellblazer comics, is played by black actress Bailey Tippen.
  • Reusable Lighter Toss: in "Non Est Asylum" John tosses a lighter on a magic circle to help him trap a demon and send it back to hell. note 
  • The Runaway: Philip, the hitchhiker in "Danse Vaudou", is a runaway. Zed ran away from home and changed her name.
  • Science Marches On: In-Universe and lampshaded. Twenty years ago, a man's wife made a Deal with the Devil to save her cancer-ridden husband. When they are forced to back out of the deal to save her soul, he points out that he now has a much better chance of surviving due to modern treatment.
  • Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: In "A Feast of Friends", Lester finds a man who had binding tattoos, showing a demon was sealed inside of him. To seal it away again Constantine uses Lester's body.
  • Self-Inflicted Hell: Inverted - afterlife is Catholic. When an evangelical preacher dies, he is destined for Hell because he has a "mortal sin on [his] soul", even though evangelicals don't categorize sins that way or consider penance necessary for forgiveness.
  • Serial Homewrecker: On a couple of occasions, Constantine been seen being chased out of the house by some other guy's wife - he also has the courtesy to remember their names.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Chas' cab is from the Yellow Crown Cab Co. Chas' actor is also Reggie Ledoux.
    • John has a magic card that can present itself as whatever the user wants it to appear. In other words, a a psychic paper. Oh, and his mill house inner sanctum is also Bigger on the Inside. For that matter, John is an English Bunny-Ears Lawyer Deadpan Snarker with a mysterious past and questionable mortality, and the Doctor has often thrown out the fake name "John Smith". "A Whole World Out There" even mimics the Tenth's holiday specials or "Doctor Alone" chapters, with Written-In Absence for Chas and Zed, while simultaneously mimicking teen slasher flicks like The Cabin in the Woods.
  • Sinister Minister: Pastor Zachary in "Blessed are the Damned" certainly seems to be headed this way. His worried sister has sensed something wrong with him for a long time, he uses a sensationalist preaching style that involves handling venomous snakes, and as the episode escalates he proves quick to accuse anyone who doesn't wholly agree with him of being corrupt and evil. All the while, the people he's been healing are turning into murderous ghouls. However, as Zed's psychic senses prove, he genuinely means well; his faith is being manipulated by the influence of a fallen angel. Once everything is resolved, he's shown delivering a toned-down but heartfelt sermon that demonstrates how much he's learned from his experiences.
  • So Proud of You: Constantine to Gary after he agrees to become the sacrifice to hold the demon.
  • Stealth Pun: Constantine calls some earth spirits "poor sods" in the second episode.
  • Success Through Insanity: In order to fend off a gang of people with guns in the end of his pilot episode, John Constantine pours lighter fluid on his hands and sets them on fire, then holds them up in the air.
  • Summon Bigger Fish:
    • Part of the great failure that led to John's self-institutionalization — to get rid of a demon possessing a little girl, he tried conjuring a more powerful demon to order it away, only for Nergal (said more powerful demon) to kill her instead.
    • The above does not stop him from doing it again in "The Saint of Last Resorts, Part 1," invoking the demon Pazuzu to take advantage of Pazuzu's bitter enmity with Lamashtu.
  • Superpower Lottery: Zed hit the jackpot powerwise, even if its Blessed with Suck. She has retro-cognition, precognition, psychometry, a little bit of everything.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The mill house for the House of Mysteries, John's abode in the New 52.
  • The Swarm: The demon in "A Feast of Friends" takes the form of a swarm of insects.
  • Take That!: In the second episode, some locals mention a local bit of folklore about a tall man without a face who follows you home and peeks in your window before dismissing it as "not very original".
  • The Man Behind the Man: The person behind the Brujeria and Rising Darkness? Manny.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The rising darkness has allowed Felix Faust, previously a laughing stock in the magical community, to take one and become a fearsome threat.
  • Trenchcoat Brigade: As per his comic incarnation, Constantine follows this principle. It's rather short as far as trenchcoats go, however. At the end of "Waiting for the Man," John upgrades to a truly epic and true-to-the-comics Badass Longcoat.
  • Truer to the Text: The series sticks closer to the spirit of the comic than the 2005 movie starring Keanu Reeves. Constantine is a blond British man in a trenchcoat instead of a brunet American man in a suit. He still does exorcisms, but tends to do so through many faiths (explicitly invoking both Judaism and Hinduism as well as Christianity in the pilot) and other forms of magic as well.
  • Urban Fantasy: But of course. Like the comic, it features demons, angels and ghosts running about in modern-day cities.
  • Utility Magic: John uses this kind of magic for the most part during the series; he sticks to spells that locate people and magical creatures, reveal previous spells that were cast, and that will banish whatever evil he has to face. This is the result of some very nasty consequences that arose from his use of dangerous magic in the past, including demon summoning.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: Constantine keeps making allusions to the "Rising Darkness". The signification is revealed in "The Saint of Last Resorts".
  • Voodoo Doll: In the third episode, Papa Midnite ends up making one of Constantine in revenge for what he cost him in the episode.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: After being possessed by Pazuzu John wakes up in the middle of several dead bodies, at least one of which was disemboweled by his hands. Happens again later in the same episode.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: A ghost of a murdered and mutilated model asks her victims if they think she's pretty, then stabs them whether they answer "yes" or "no." With some trial and error, Chas figures out that she can't stab him if he keeps asking her questions, frustrating the ghost to no end.
  • Wham Episode: "The Saint of Last Resorts, Part 1" more or less tosses a monkey wrench into Status Quo: We find out what's causing the Rising Darkness (an ancient order of Warlocks thought to be long extinct), John's shot in the gut and left for dead, Zed is tracked down by an Ancient Conspiracy and taken captive by them..
  • Wham Line: In "Waiting for the Man".
    Papa Midnite: You work for the Brujeria?
    Manny: No. The Brujeria work for me.
  • Wham Shot: Before the Wham Line from "Waiting for the Man" is delivered, Papa Midnite sees time around him stop completely, a sign of Manny's presence.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Subverted: Zed calls John out in A Feast of Friends for sacrificing Gary to stop a demon, but she then concedes that he did what he had to do.
    • Manny calls John out in The Saint of Last Resorts: Part 2 for allowing himself to be possessed by Pazuzu, a Demon King so that he could heal himself. He seems genuinely upset that John didn't even ask him for help, implying that he may have broken his non-interference rule for him.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: In "Blessed are the Damned," the Fallen Angel Imogen let Father Zachary take one of her feathers knowing it would ground her in the human world. Whether John helps her or the ghouls retrieved the feather doesn't matter, either way she is able to stay in the human world. Even John admitts she fooled him.
  • Written-In Absence: Zed does not appear in "The Rage of Caliban" and "A Whole World Out There". In both case her absence is handwaved.
  • You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good!: In "A Whole World Out There", Ritchie tells Jacob Shaw, who trapped and tortured souls in a Pocket Dimension, "All this time you spent here, you could've been building worlds. You could've been redefining life and how we live it."
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Someone possessed by a demon has a slow incubation period before it takes hold and shunts the person's soul out of their body and into the afterlife. John assumes he has a few days before Pazuzu does it to him, but not nearly as much time as he thinks.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: The victims in "A Whole World Out There" blunder into an alternate dimension through their careless use of an Egyptian transference ritual. If they're injured in the other reality, the wounds manifest on their body in the real world.
  • Your Soul Is Mine!:
    • In "Quid Pro Quo," Felix Faust is stealing souls and using them for power, including Chas' daughter.
    • In "A Whole World Out There," Jacob Shaw captured the souls of those he killed so he could torment them over and over for his sick amusement.


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Alternative Title(s): Constantine


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