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Series / Coroner

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Coroner is a Canadian drama television series based on the Jenny Cooper series of novels by M. R. Hall and developed by Morwyn Brebner. The series stars Serinda Swan as Jenny Cooper, a recently-widowed Toronto coroner who investigates suspicious deaths. The series premiered on CBC in January 2019, and attracted 1 million viewers per episode throughout the first season. The series was subsequently renewed for a second season.

Not to be confused with The Coroner or the Swiss thrash metal band.

Coroner contains examples of:

  • Cool House: Before he moves in with Jenny, Liam resides in a treehouse in the woods.
  • The Coroner: The titular character.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: Most of the deaths in the show revolve around not being what they might seem.
  • Dirty Cop: "Confetti Heart" deals with a murder covered up by three of these.
  • D.I.Y. Disaster: Jenny's new house.
  • Duct Tape for Everything: In "Round and Round", Liam uses duct tape as a makeshift wound dressing. On himself.
  • The Gambling Addict: Jenny only finds out her husband was one of these after his death, which happens at the start of the first episode.
  • Handy Man: Liam. Seemingly more as a means of occupying his time, claiming that his monthly check from the Canadian Armed Forces is already enough to live on.
  • Important Haircut: Matteo's theory on why Jenny's appearance changed after her husband's death.
  • Inspector Lestrade: Detective Donovan McAvoy has shades of this, particularly in Season One; later, various other cops fulfil this role.
  • Intoxication Ensues: In "Bobbi", Jenny and Donovan attend a memorial party for the Victim of the Week, hoping that the killer will show up. They're each given a brownie. They turn out to be hash brownies, which explains why almost everyone at the party is acting weirdly. And why Donovan ends up doing some karaoke.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In "No Justice No Peace", Detective West is an obviously racist cop who is clearly this particular episode's Lestrade. However, given the very strong circumstantial evidence against Ross — he's found in the same room as the Victim of the Week, he's wearing bloodstained clothes, he claims to have no memory of what happened and he has in his possession a bloodstained screwdriver that fits the description of the murder weapon — West surely has no choice but to arrest him on suspicion of murder.
  • Lockdown: The penultimate episode of Season One, due to a radiation leak. As of Season Three, the COVID-19 Pandemic ensures that the care-homes of Toronto are in this situation.
  • Masking the Deformity: Subverted in "LGND". The head of Surmount (a major support group for individuals who had a near-death experience), Tim Whitman, always wears a stylish silver mask, officially to cover up scars he received following a near-fatal fall whilst mountain climbing. However, as Jenny and Donavon realise, the real Tim was murdered years ago, and the present leader of Surmount is a con artist who is impersonating him. This is confirmed in the climax when Donavon manages to fight him off and his mask slips, revealing his intact face.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Jenny, so very much. By Season Three she say she's given it up, but few people believe her.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Jenny's public announcement that all of Ian Peterson's old cases will be reopened leads to a rush of appeals against previous convictions. Among them is Gerald Henry Jones, who was convicted of murdering a vagrant but, as Peterson had worked on his case, he gets to go free. Turns out he's a serial killer — McAvoy was only able to nail him for one of the many murders he committed — and once he's out, it's not long before he kills again.
  • Not the First Victim: The later part of season one has Detective McAvoy dealing with Gerald Henry Jones, a wealthy banker whom McAvoy arrested several years earlier for murdering Floyd Shipman, whose case is being reopened. He meets with Shipman's daughter, who reveals to him her theory that Jones is in fact a serial killer, due to there being four other unsolved murders that occurred in the same area where her father was killed. Whilst McAvoy is initially sceptical (not least because he remembers how difficult it was to convict Jones of a single murder), the resulting investigation not only proves her right, but establishes that Jones is far more prolific than anyone imagined, having slaughtered people all over Ontario — with Shipman being his twenty-third victim. His first victim, as Jenny eventually discovers, was none other than his own father who Jones stabbed to death whilst in his teens.
  • One-Shot Character: Averted; unlike most procedural dramas, many characters from previous episodes make frequent appearances throughout the season.
  • Portent of Doom: The black dog that only Jenny can see in series one. Averted, though, as it's actually the family pet from when she was a little girl — her father shot it but she has repressed her memory of this, in addition to repressing her memory of accidentally causing the death of her sister.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Season Three is set during the COVID-19 Pandemic, while in "No Justice No Peace" there are Black Lives Matter Movement protesters outside the police station.
  • Sentimental Homemade Toy: Darkly subverted in "The Bridges" confronted by Gerald Henry Jones, Jenny tries to appeal to his sentimentality arguing despite his faults his father must have loved him as he whittled him a toy out of wood. Only for Jones to reveal his father never gave him anything and that it was himself who whittled it, years later using the same Chisel to kill his father and all his other victims.
  • Show Within a Show: In Season Two, some of the characters enjoy watching a TV show about a coroner called Fernandes. In "The Flipside", John Fernandes, the main character from the show, appears to Jenny while she's asleep and helps her solve a case (yes, really), although she doesn't figure out who he is, or even that she was actually asleep at the time, until the end of the episode. Bonus points for the show being named as a tribute to a real-life consultant on Coroner who had died.
  • Sleepwalking: Jenny does this a lot in Season Two. She almost burns her house down, nearly gets run over, takes a gun from the examining room safe and even solves a case (yes, really) while asleep.
  • Struggling Single Mother: Jenny. The show kicks off six months after her husband's untimely death, and she is struggling to hold it all together.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Happens when Jenny and Ian Peterson, the older guy who she sacked in "Black Dog", are forced by circumstance to work together in "The Suburbs". He has manipulated the situation in order to try and get into her good books and convince her to close the investigation into his old cases, though.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: At the end of the first season, Jenny uncovers a repressed childhood memory of accidentally killing her sister.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Jenny manages to escape punishment (as far as the audience is aware) for taking a gun from the examining room safe and leaving it in her desk drawer. Granted, she was sleepwalking at the time and so didn't do it deliberately, but it's still a serious breach of regulations. Later on, she tries to interfere when her son becomes a murder suspect, even though she is told she has to recuse herself from the investigation as it's an obvious conflict of interests. Again, she faces no disciplinary procedures that we know of.