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"I'm not seeking penance for what I've done, Father. I'm asking for forgiveness... for what I'm about to do."
Matt Murdock

Daredevil is a Netflix original series adaptation of the long-running comic book series, and the first entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's The Defenders franchise, followed up by Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Punisher.

The show follows Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), a blind lawyer with heightened senses, as he works alongside his girlfriend Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) and his best friend and law partner Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) to fight the criminal activities of Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio) in the courtroom and on the streets of Hell's Kitchen as the masked vigilante "Daredevil".

Rather fittingly, it was the first Netflix series to receive descriptive audio to enable blind people to follow along properly. It's also notable for being the first MCU property to break from the franchise's overall lighter tone, offering a darker and edgier take of the universe that hadn't yet been seen when it debuted in early 2015.

Daredevil was renewed for a second season a week after its debut, which premiered on March 18, 2016. It introduces two major characters from Marvel lore: Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal), and Elektra Natchios (Élodie Yung). The near-unanimous praise for Bernthal's performance as Castle led to him getting his own spinoff show, The Punisher, released on November 17, 2017. A third season is currently in production for fall 2018, premiering after the second seasons of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, and introducing new characters played by Joanne Whalley, Jay Ali, and Wilson Bethel, with Annabella Sciorra reprising her role from Luke Cage as Rosalie Carbone.

As Daredevil is part of The Defenders, spoilers from that series are included in some of the examples, and they are marked as such.


Tropes featured in Daredevil include:

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     A-F 
  • Abandoned Warehouse:
    • "Condemned" sees Matt holing up with Vladimir in an abandoned building to get information on Fisk. Things get complicated when a rookie police officer stumbles upon them and Matt is forced to overpower him, leading to a hostage situation drawing in the various crooked cops Matt was trying to avoid.
    • For the duration of season 1, Fisk has meetings with other associates in a warehouse by the docks.
    • The season 2 finale sees Karen and a bunch of other Daredevil survivors get held hostage by the Hand in one of these.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Amy Rutberg's father is an actual judge, so it's appropriate that Marci Stahl is a lawyer.
    • Élodie Yung had actually considered a career in law before deciding to become an actress, making her role as Elektra very poignant.
    • The Punisher makes his first appearance taking out a bunch of Irish mobsters in the vein of Owen Sleater, the character Charlie Cox played in Boardwalk Empire. Finn is played by Tony Curran, who in that show was the brother of Nucky Thompson's wife Margaret, with whom Cox's character Owen Sleater had an affair.
    • In "Speak of the Devil", Matt asks Karen if she's a religious person, and she says, "My parents were. That's probably why I'm not." In True Blood, Deborah Ann Woll played Jessica Hamby, who had the background of being a rebellious teenager from an overly strict Christian family.
    • Charlie Cox is no stranger to having a love interest played by a blonde.
    • James Wesley's understanding of the Japanese language (when he and Fisk are interacting with Nobu) is quite fitting, as Toby Leonard Moore spent a year living in Japan as an exchange student, and is fluent in the Japanese language.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the comics, Gladiator is a career criminal and supervillain, albeit one who attempts to mend his ways. In the show, Melvin Potter is a somewhat innocent idiot-savant who is forced to serve Fisk to protect his friend, and then turns to being Matt's fulltime armorer once Fisk is arrested.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Matt has red hair in the comics, with his fiery coloration being an intentional artistic play on the devil motif. This would look incredibly silly on Charlie Cox, so he just sports his natural brown hair color with a bit of copper-red tinting.
    • Wilson Fisk normally wears white suits in the comics. Here, he wears black in his earliest incarnation to show his transformation to his full Kingpin persona. When he takes his relationship with Vanessa to the next level, he begins to wear lighter shades.
  • Adapted Out:
    • The Daily Bugle, Ben Urich's employer in the comics, is renamed the New York Bulletin, due to Spider-Man not being rolled into the MCU until after that season was produced.
    • In the comics, Frank Castle's family was killed by thugs working for the Costas, an Italian mob family. In the show, they were instead killed during a three way shoot-out between Irish mobsters, a Mexican cartel, and the Dogs of Hell. It's ultimately revealed that the entire shootout was orchestrated by Colonel Schoonover, Frank's former commanding officer from Iraq, and in The Punisher, it's revealed that Frank was targeted because the plotters of Operation Cerberus thought Frank leaked footage of the execution of Ahmed Zubair.
    • Frank Castle's traditional sidekick David "Microchip" Lieberman doesn't appear in season 2, instead making his debut in Castle's solo show. However, he is hinted at with a CD labeled "Micro" in Castle's house, which is a videotape David had made of the Ahmed Zubair execution that Frank was being targeted over.
    • Inverted in one case; characters from Garth Ennis' Kitchen Irish story arc are incorporated into the Punisher's storyline in Season 2, a story which, despite the Hell's Kitchen setting, did not feature Daredevil.
  • Adorkable:
    • Matt tends to act like a dorky puppy whenever he's around Karen, unable to resist flirting with her, and becoming unspeakably shy.
    • Fisk acts like a big shy dork while trying to ask Vanessa out.
    • Foggy is made of this and not ashamed to admit it.
  • The Adjectival Man: "The masked man" is a common nickname for Matt before the papers take up using the "Devil of Hell's Kitchen" as a better nickname.
  • Advertised Extra: Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple only appears in five out of 13 episodes in the first season of Daredevil, and she doesn't have any big impact on the plot after Matt saves her from the Russians. She has a similarly brief run in the second season. Her role is essentially an Early-Bird Cameo for her appearances in other series associated with The Defenders, such as Jessica Jones. It wouldn't be until Luke Cage that Claire finally began to take on a more prominent role, functioning as Luke's sidekick for the second half of season 1.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • "Shadows in the Glass" in season 1 is primarily focused on Wilson Fisk and explores his relationship with Vanessa, and flashbacks to his childhood.
    • An episode of season 3 focuses on Karen's mysterious past, previously only hinted at over the first two seasons.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Leland Owlsley has a genial, avuncular personality in spite of being a crooked banker for organized crime.
    • Madame Gao is a kindly old lady, always smiling, ever polite, and often dispensing sage wisdom to her partners. She's also one of the Fingers that comprise the leadership of the Hand.
  • Age Lift: Leland Owlsley is usually depicted as being in his late 30s or early 40s in the comics, but in the series, he is played by septuagenarian Bob Gunton. Given that he mentions his son shortly before his death, it's possible that Leland Owlsley, Jr. will appear as the MCU version of the comic book character.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Quite a number of the antagonist characters are humanized and their deaths are treated as tragic.
    • Detective Hoffman is very bitter over Fisk forcing him to kill Blake, his partner and best friend of 35 years. Hoffman even tearfully says "I'm sorry" as he's injecting the poison into Blake's IV line, and this bitterness leads him to eventually turn on Fisk.
    • Wesley's death at Karen's hands was heavily justified. But for Fisk, Wesley was his closest friend.
    • Despite Grotto being a criminal who killed people, Matt, Karen and Foggy feel guilty enough about their failure to protect him from the Punisher to hold a funeral service for him. They're also the only three who even bother to show up for the service.
  • The Alcoholic: Everyone at Nelson & Murdock is a heavy drinker. They seem to spend most nights getting drunk at Josie's, to the point that they rack up a gigantic tab. Foggy explains Matt's frequent injuries to Karen as him being an alcoholic, which Karen seems to accept for a time. For himself, Foggy is such a hard drinker that Marci smuggles him a bottle of liquor while he's recuperating from getting shot during the Reyes assassination, and they both sip it straight from the bottle. Karen proves resistant to the drugs James Wesley uses to sedate her because alcoholics are resistant to sedatives, and after killing Wesley, she spends several hours drinking every piece of alcohol in her apartment.
  • All Bikers Are Hells Angels: The Dogs of Hell biker gang in season 2 are among the Punisher's targets. They're a crossover from an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
  • All for Nothing:
    • All of Nelson & Murdock's work taking down Wilson Fisk in season 1 is rendered worthless when he regains his power through a bunch of behind the scenes plays in season 2, and then is released early in season 3.
    • Matt's defeat of Nobu and the Hand in season 2 is rendered this trope by Iron Fist and The Defenders, which reveal Matt only defeated a faction of the Hand, and never got close to touching the other factions led by Bakuto, Madame Gao, Sowande, and Alexandra.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Melvin Potter is brilliant at making stuff, be it technology or clothes. He also comes off as having some sort of intellectual disability.
  • Ambiguously Human:
    • Nobu is noted to have an unusual heartbeat, seems completely unaware of any pain or discomfort he should be experiencing, and in general creeps out everyone who meets him (in his very first scene, Owlsley says to him "Can you at least pretend to be cold? It's unsettling!"). Season 2 reveals that he regenerates after seemingly fatal injuries, and he remarks that there's "no such thing" as death. The other ninjas of the Hand make no sound and can even conceal the beating of their hearts. It's hinted that at least some of them have returned from the dead. One even has scars from an autopsy. Iron Fist and The Defenders establish that yes, the Hand can resurrect the dead.
    • Madame Gao, who claims that her homeland is not China but somewhere considerably "farther away." note  She also knocks down Matt in one hit despite being an old woman who walks with a cane, and claims to speak ALL languages. Iron Fist reveals she's from K'un L'un, she's several centuries (if not millennia) old, and her cane conceals a sword, and The Defenders ultimately reveals she's one of the Hand's founders.
    • The Black Sky that Nobu transports is meant to be a very rare and dangerous weapon, but appears to be just a young boy. Stick insists that he's not a person. Nobu also insists that Black Sky was "very valuable" and will be "difficult to replace" after Stick kills the boy, and seems upset enough to lend a lot of weight to Stick's argument. Then in season 2, Elektra turns out to be a Black Sky.
  • Amoral Attorney:
    • Matt and Foggy were offered spots at Landman & Zack, a large and prestigious law firm, but Matt did not like the type of cases and clients the firm took on, so he convinced Foggy that they could avoid this trope by starting their own business. Good things, since they find out later that Landman and Zack handles a lot of Wilson Fisk's legal business. The season one finale reveals that most of the firm's partners are arrested by the FBI due to being complicit in Fisk's illegal activities.
    • Subverted with Marci Stahl, who reveals when push comes to shove that she has a guilty conscience and ends up helping Foggy take down her Landman & Zack colleagues who are in Fisk's pockets. Her turning against her corrupt bosses gets her hired by Hogarth, Chao & Benowitz, and is able to persuade Jeri Hogarth to bring Foggy into the firm as well following Nelson & Murdock's closure. She is then a firm ally to the main trio beginning in season 3.
    • Introduced in season 2, Benjamin Donovan is Fisk's defense attorney, and also has taken up the consigliere duties that had been previously handled by Wesley.
    • Reyes, a District Attorney who will resort to illegal tactics and backstabbing to save her ass and achieve her ambitions.
  • Anachronic Order: The end of the second season overlaps significantly with Luke Cage. Claire mentions the Hand's hospital attack to her mother when she first appears in "Just to Get a Rep". Likewise, Matt revealing his secret identity to Karen in "A Cold Day in Hell's Kitchen" takes place after the police car dashcam video of Luke overpowering two police officers in "DWYCK" (the dashcam footage is stamped as taking place on December 1st, 2015, while the last scene in "A Cold Day in Hell's Kitchen" is established by preceding dialogue to take place during the week of December 20, 2015).
  • And Starring: "And Vincent D'Onofrio as Wilson Fisk"
  • And the Adventure Continues: The season 1 finale ends with Matt hearing a cry for help and rushing to the rescue with his escrima sticks in his hands.
  • ...And That Little Girl Was Me: Twice in "Guilty as Sin":
    • A subversion. Stick tells a story about how a child began fighting the Hand, killing them until they were driven out and this act of defiance was the origin of his organization, the Chaste. Matt assumes that Stick is talking about himself and sarcastically compliments him on keeping himself at the center. What the audience sees of the Chaste indicates Stick isn't its leader, suggesting this assumption may well be wrong.
    • At Frank Castle's trial, Colonel Schoonover testifies as a character witness, and tells a story about a stupid officer who got Castle's squad into an ambush (we later see the exact details of the ambush in a flashback during The Punisher), that caused said idiot officer to lose his right arm. When Reyes claims no one can really know what happened if they weren't there, Schoonover clarifies that he was that idiot officer, completely undercutting Reyes' argument (and making her wonder how she managed to overlook his prosthetic arm in the first place).
    Blake Tower: How did you miss that in his file?
    Samantha Reyes: All the names were redacted.
    Blake Tower: Not good.
    Samantha Reyes: No shit.
  • Anti-Hero: Matt breaks his oath as a lawyer to be a vigilante who punishes criminals, despite that making him a criminal too. This is lampshaded by Claire at the beginning of "World on Fire", where she points out this contradiction, and he tells her that he's still "figuring it out".
  • Anti-Villain: Wilson Fisk has a sympathetic backstory, a number of people he cares about, seems to legitimately believe that he's doing what's best for Hell's Kitchen, and even undergoes a bit of positive Character Development. Rather than a simple greedy mob boss, he's portrayed as a curiously vulnerable and damaged man with a misguided vision and one hell of an anger management issue.
  • Anyone Can Die:
    • In Season 1, there is at least one death in every episode (when flashbacks are counted). There's Anatoly and Vladimir, Elena Cardenas, Nobu (who gets better), Fisk's right-hand man James Wesley, Ben Urich, and Leland Owlsley.
    • In Season 2, a great majority of the Kitchen's Irish, the Dogs of Hell and the Cartel, Reyes, The Blacksmith, Nobu...again (this time permanently) and finally Elektra herself (only to be revived by the Hand for The Defenders.
  • Apologetic Attacker: When Claire is kidnapped and tortured by the Russians, Sergei is uncomfortable having to rough up a woman, and begs her to just answer the questions.

  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    • Subverted in "In the Blood". When Karen tells Ben that she was saved by a man in a mask, he at first is skeptical, but concedes that a masked vigilante is not the craziest thing in the world. Ben would know a thing or two about that, as he has framed front-page articles in his office about the Harlem Terror and the Battle of Midtown.
    • Played with in another case from "In the Blood": Wesley questions Anatoly and Vladimir as to why their gang is having so much trouble with one man running around in a mask, then adds, "I mean, if he had an iron suit or a magic hammer, maybe that would explain why you keep getting your asses handed to you."
    • Justified with Fisk's "You really think one man in a silly little costume can make a difference?" Fisk gained his foothold in Hell's Kitchen in part because of the Chitauri invasion. From his perspective, guys like the Avengers might save the world, but they don't do shit about the crime, corruption, greed, poverty, and urban decay at street level. Until now, that is.
    • In Season 2, Matt is extremely skeptical about mysticism, even when directly confronting the Hand and seeing things that should be impossible like resurrection of the dead, even when the world has faced several alien invasions and Norse Gods walk the streets. Even Claire as a medical professional is more willing to point out the weirdness surrounding the Hand. Stick also notes that as a Catholic, Matt shouldn't have a problem with believing resurrection can happen, since his faith is based on one person doing that.
  • Arcade Sounds:
    • In "Rabbit in a Snowstorm", Healy stashes a faulty pistol inside a 2014 Mustang (Stern) pinball game so the police won't find it when he's arrested. When James Wesley visits the bowling alley the next day to pick up the gun, however, it plays electro-mechanical chimes from fifty years ago.
    • A Chinese gangster's smartphone is making a bizarre combination of blooping sounds that ends with the distinctive "Game Over" noise from Pac-Man.
  • Armor Is Useless: Wilson Fisk wears a cutting-edge armor lining that's indistinguishable under his suit. It can stop knives, as first demonstrated when Anatoly swings at him with a switchblade, and later when Matt attempts to slice at him with a kusari-gama. Witnessing this, Matt wants some similar armor of his own, even getting Fisk's tailor to create the suit. It saves him in the final fight from a fractured skull when it partially deflects Fisk's head-shot with a piece of rebar. It also saves Matt's life when Frank Castle shoots him in the head, though he has a pretty serious concussion and needs a new helmet.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: The end of Matt and Foggy's fight in "Nelson v. Murdock" is Foggy flipping Matt off and demanding, "How many fingers am I holding up?" Matt, of course, can tell.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: In "Nelson v. Murdock," when Foggy asks Matt if he was responsible for Fisk's bombings of the Russian hideouts or the shooting of several police officers, Matt asks if Foggy really needs to hear the answer from him. When Foggy says yes, a tear slides down Matt's cheek as he realizes just how betrayed his best friend feels.
  • The Artifact: Ben Urich still works at the New York Bulletin, even though it's 2015. Ellison repeatedly points out that print is dying and how the news is becoming more about clickbait than useful information. Right up until Ben's last words, in fact. Come season 2, Ellison, feeling guilty over not having backed Ben's investigation, has a big change of heart, and backs Karen's investigation into Frank Castle's family the whole way.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Although he's supposed to be blind, Matt's eyes look perfectly normal and show no sign of discoloration. (According to Charlie Cox, he tried for a bit to wear special contact lenses that clouded his eyes to achieve the right effect, but they made it too hard for him to find his mark while filming scenes, so he quickly ditched them)
    • Matt could have been deafened by the exploding warehouse in "World on Fire". It's possible that some of the training offscreen from Stick may have involved consciously inducing auditory exclusion, an 'auditory blink' typically seen in police officers under high stress situations.
  • Artistic License – Geography:
    • The warehouse where Matt holes up with Vladimir in "Condemned" is said to be at the northwest corner of 47th Street and 12th Avenue. That would be impossible as 12th Avenue at Hell's Kitchen is the West Side Highway, as opposed to a regular street. On the opposite side of the street from the buildings should be the USS Intrepid Museum, which is not visible in any shots. The West Side Highway is also eight lanes at this point, not a two lane road with buildings on both sides. This part of Hell's Kitchen is also primarily residential buildings, and no industrial warehouses.
    • "Bang" opens with a Walk and Talk of Matt and Foggy walking to work, ostensibly in Hell's Kitchen. However, a street sign for East 116th Street appears in the background, betraying the Upper East Side filming location.
    • The newspaper article on the death of Karen Page's brother in "Seven Minutes in Heaven" reports that he had been "heading east on Vermont Route 12 from the Hill Road exit ramp off Interstate 89". Vermont Route 12 is a north-south highway that runs parallel to Interstate 89 for much of its length, with the two highways only crossing at the state capital in Montpelier. There's also no direct off-ramp between VT-12 and I-89. There also is no Windler County in Vermont, as Montpelier is in Washington County.
      • Incidentally, there is a Route 12 in Windham, New York, the town that is used for Fagan Corners when it finally appears in season 3.
    • Early in "Into the Ring," we see Foggy meet with Brett as Brett emerges from what is supposedly the 50th Street station on the IND Eighth Avenue Line. The entrance signage on the stairwell is accurate, but the landscape of the surrounding buildings isn't. The area around 50th Street and Eighth Avenue in the show is depicted as lowrises that don't exceed five stories at most. In reality, this area is primarily composed of highrises exceeding 20 stories. The scene itself was actually shot at Bedford Avenue on the BMT Canarsie Line.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • After his father's death, young Matt is shown to be living in an orphanage. The United States got rid of its orphanage system in favor of foster care and group homes in the early 1980s. If Matt is in his mid-30s in the present day, that system would have been well in place by the time he became a ward of the state, circa the 1990s.
    • When Matt is growing up in the 1990s, Hell's Kitchen is portrayed as a lower-class neighborhood of Irish immigrants. This is based on the comics, which were created in the 1960s, when this was still true. In reality, Hell's Kitchen gentrified in the 1990s and is something of a Gayborhood now. The show justifies the neighborhood's crapsack portrayal in modern times by saying that the "Incident" caused a lot of property destruction here.
  • Artistic License – Military: When testifying on the stand at Frank Castle's trial, we learn that Colonel Schoonover was wounded in combat and lost his right arm. That meets the criteria for a Purple Heart. Yet when in uniform, his ribbon rack does not include the award. The first ribbon in the top row is crimson, indicating a Legion of Merit award.
  • Artistic License – Sports: No boxer of any repute has a losing record. "Battlin' Jack" Murdock is said to have a losing record, yet posters on gym walls show that he's headlined events, and he's still fighting televised matches against notable boxers, even being paid to take a dive. Real journeymen boxers, the kind with losing records, fight in obscurity, matched against other no-names or young prospects looking for easy victories before becoming a name.
  • Art Shift: In contrast with the warmer film-like quality of previous MCU entries, Daredevil has a starker and darker color palette with harsh lighting and has a rawer video quality. It also relies more on handheld cameras than on steadicams to increase the sense of unease that exists in the neighborhood.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Karen Page was Matt's longest love interest in the comics yet never really was an active character. Here, she's the secondary lead of the show, with her providing as much contribution to bringing down Fisk through the media as Matt is doing with his Daredevil activities; and in season 2, Karen is the main protagonist of the Punisher plotline after Elektra is introduced into the show. In season 3, she also takes over Ben Urich's comics role as Matt's newspaper ally in addition to her role as his love interest.
    • James Wesley was a one-off right-hand in the comics, only appearing in the Born Again story where he was tasked with tracking down Nuke (Will Simpson) for the purpose of setting him loose on Hell's Kitchen, before quietly disappearing. In the show, Wesley is Fisk's closest friend and the one in charge of carrying out a lot of Fisk's orders. In fact, this version of Wesley would be transplanted back into the comics, where he's a criminal lawyer for Fisk and anyone under his payroll.
    • Mitchell Ellison is initially a recurring character in season 1, there to be an interference in Ben Urich's investigations into Fisk to mislead the viewers into thinking he's Fisk's mole in the paper. The mole is actually Ellison's secretary. In season 2 and season 3, Ellison gets a much larger role, which coincides with Karen taking Ben's job and office, while Ellison himself ends up filling Ben's place as mentor to Karen.
    • Marci Stahl is initially a recurring character in season 1, first introduced as Foggy's ex-girlfriend from collegenote . Foggy rekindles his flame with Marci as he persuades her to help Nelson & Murdock take down Fisk by turning on her corrupt partners. In season 2, she only gets two scenes but is established to be working at Hogarth Chao & Benowitz. Foggy later joins her at HC&B at the end of the season following the closure of Nelson & Murdock, and the two of them are established by dialogue in The Defenders to be back to fulltime dating. The result of this is that for season 3, Marci gets a lot more screentime than she did in the first two seasons combined.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • In "Dogs to a Gunfight," Frank Castle kills a Neo-Nazi pawn shop owner who tried to sell him child pornography. Pretty much everyone he kills is one of these. Justified, as it's The Punisher's raison d'être.
    • In "The Man in the Box" District Attorney Reyes definitely had it coming one way or another for being partly responsible for Castle's family's death, when she botched the sting operation as well as getting innocent people killed in the process, no ones going to be missing her after being gunned down in her own office.
  • Audible Sharpness: In Matt's fight with Healy, a dagger of broken glass sings at the edge of hearing. If anyone can hear it, Matt would be the one.
    • In Season 2, Stick blows on the edge of a sword he's just sharpened, producing an audible (metal-on-metal) "ching".
    • Also in Season 2, it becomes a plot point. In a fight with The Hand they start tossing away their weapons to fight hand to hand, realizing that Matt is relying on hearing their weapons to actively fight them. It works as Matt starts getting decimated in the next encounter. He has to learn how to listen to their breathing in order to properly fight back.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Every leader of a major criminal faction operating in Hell's Kitchen is an extremely competent combatant including a seemingly frail Madame Gao, who is one of The Hand's founders.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • A minor subplot about season 2 concerns Matt learning that the Hand have the ability to bring people back from the dead, a topic that Iron Fist and The Defenders later explore in detail.
    • Season 3 starts with Matt doing this after being presumed killed in Midland Circle.
  • Badass Grandpa: Stick is a visibly muscular old man who can wipe the floor with Matt or ninjas and is at least a match for anyone he fights, knows how to counter poison on weapons, and is able to resist torture.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit:
    • Wilson Fisk has a large wardrobe filled with immaculate bulletproof dark suits. The show implies that he generally picks the same ones, but Vanessa encourages him to try some different offerings.
    • In Season 2, Episode 8, during the courtroom scene, Frank Castle is called to the stand and he is brought by two officers. He is wearing a suit and has cleaned up very nicely. Considering that it is the Punisher who is wearing a suit, he fits this trope pretty well.
    Foggy: He looks better than I ever have and he's not even wearing a tie.
  • Badass Pacifist: Foggy. Despite not having Matt's training, he's shown early in season 2 walking into a Dogs of Hell club to get information about a Punisher massacre despite not having any weapons or training, and coming close to death in doing so. Later, in "New York's Finest," he visits Claire at the hospital trying to find Matt. The hospital happens to have just received a mass influx of patients from a gang shootout and the blood is so bad that two guys decide to settle a score right there on the emergency room floor. Foggy gets them to drop their weapons by appealing to their pragmatism, something the hospital's security guards weren't able to do.
  • Baddie Flattery: Wilson Fisk compliments Matt's decision to wage a one-man war to change Hell's Kitchen.
    Wilson Fisk: I respect your... conviction; the lone man who thinks he can make a difference.
  • Bald of Evil:
    • Wilson Fisk has no hair, as usual.
    • Subverted with Melvin Potter, as he's actually a good guy who's been threatened into working for Fisk.
  • Ballistic Discount: Subverted by the pawn shop owner who made sure to unload the shotgun before giving it and waiting for the payment. Frank kills him with a baseball bat for a completely different reason.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • By the end of World on Fire, Fisk reveals that the entire time we thought the Russians were gaining the upper hand on him, they were actually playing straight into his plan to remove them from the picture entirely. He had not only anticipated, but planned on Vladimir reacting to the revelation that he was Anatoly's real murderer by assembling his troops and putting a price on Fisk's head.
    • Poisoning the champagne is supposed to kill Vanessa and spare Fisk. This counts on Fisk not drinking the wine and Vanessa having some. Either by luck or design, Fisk is generally uninterested in wine and too busy to drink, while Vanessa enjoys wine and has little to do but sip a glass while she waits.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • A number of people are attacked with intent to murder them over the course of the first season. Unless they die, the intended victims don't end up with scars. This includes many of the recurring protagonists, but the most egregious example is Matt himself, beginning in his backstory when he's doused in chemicals that blind him but leave him otherwise unblemished.
    • For the most part, Matt actually is an aversion. He usually keeps all the scars he's sustained from knife fights hidden under his shirts.
    • Averted with Frank Castle in season 2, who spends the second half of the season with his face badly bruised after his fight with Wilson Fisk.
  • Beneath Suspicion: Blind people.
    • Matt is beneath suspicion for being the Devil of Hell's Kitchen because he's just a blind man.
    • Madame Gao's heroin is packaged and delivered by blind Chinese mules. When discusses the mules, Ben Urich even comments to Matt of all people that no one looks twice at a blind man.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Matt's is harm to vulnerable people. The Russians kidnap a child to lure Matt into a trap in the first episode. In "Speak of the Devil," Wilson Fisk has Elena Cardenas killed to lure Matt into the ambush from Nobu. Fisk even identifies Matt's button ("Women... children... I assumed it would extend to the elderly...").
    • Wilson Fisk has a couple of his own:
      • Embarrassing him in public (while he's on a date) is enough to provoke him to beat Anatoly unconscious and then decapitate him with a car door.
      • Going anywhere near Fisk's women without his permission, or harming her, and he'll kill you, as Fisk's own father and Ben Urich could tell you.
      • Saying Fisk's name in any sort of police/vigilante interview is also forbidden. Blake and Hoffman are instructed to kill the offender immediately, and regardless of where Fisk's name is said, he'll go after the offender and after any of the offender's loved ones to make an example of them. Healy immediately impales his head on a fence spike after giving Fisk's name to Matt under torture.
    • Frank Castle despises all criminals. But don't admit to having child porn in his presence, especially since he was a father. This is shown when he visits a pawn shop run by a very sleazy broker to get stolen police equipment. As Castle is about to leave, the broker tries to sell him child pornography ("She's barely twelve, guaranteed!"). Without saying a word, Castle promptly flips the sign in the door to "Closed", walks back towards the desk, picks up a baseball bat and uses it to beat the pawnshop guy to death.
  • Beta Couple: Foggy and Marci have a pretty steady romantic relationship compared to Matt and Karen's relationship, which is rocky and full of Will They or Won't They? and sexual tension.
  • Beta Outfit:
    • In season 1, Matt wears a utilitarian, ninja-like outfit which includes a mask without eyeholes, which serves as an homage to his getup in The Man Without Fear. There is a even a running gag wherein people tell Matt that his costume really sucks, to which Matt sheepishly admits it's a "work in progress". In the season 1 finale, Melvin Potter tailors the iconic red devil costume for Matt prior to his final showdown with Fisk. Melvin later tailors Matt an upgraded helmet partway through season 2 after his first helmet takes a bullet to head during an altercation with Frank Castle. In the season 2 finale, Melvin also tailors Matt his signature billy clubs.
    • A flashback in "Nelson v. Murdock" reveals that Matt had an even cruder outfit before the ninja look, which basically consisted of some dark, baggy clothes and a blindfold.
    • Frank Castle wears a variety of black tactical jackets throughout season 2. Come the end of the season, he manages to find a bulletproof vest in the Blacksmith's weapons stash, which he spraypaints his skull insignia on and wears under a trench coat.
      • Lampshaded when he kills the inmates that Fisk sends to attack him in prison and ends up with the bloody face print of one of them on his white overalls.
    • Elektra starts out with a black vest and pants and a red scarf for her face, and then in the season 2 finale, alongside Matt's billy clubs, Melvin tailors for Elektra a more ninja-esque red and black outfit.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: After telling Matt who Wilson Fisk is, Healy impales his own head on a fence so that Fisk can't make an example out of him.
  • Betty and Veronica: In season 2, Matt is involved in a Love Triangle between the fair-haired everywoman Karen and the dark-haired Action Girl Elektra.
  • Big Applesauce: The show picks up with Hell's Kitchen rebuilding after the "incident", and there's the bombings Fisk carries out to wipe out the Russians' manpower.
  • Big Bad: Wilson Fisk is the main antagonist of the show. He is behind most of the illegal operations Matt targets.
    • Season 2 doesn't have a main Big Bad, but it does have a Big Bad for the two main plotlines. One plot has the Yakuza (actually the Hand), lead by Nobu, who fill the Evil Power Vacuum left by Fisk's incarceration as part of their continuing plan to mine for dragon bones under Manhattan, while Frank Castle's plot has a drug lord known as The Blacksmith aka Colonel Schoonover as the mastermind behind his family's death. And Fisk himself, despite having a reduced presence, still gets to be the overall Big Bad because both of those storylines still tie back in with him: he's connected to the Hand storyline due to his season 1 ties with Nobu and Madame Gao, and he also uses Frank as a pawn in his scheme to get rid of Dutton and take over the prison's underground scheme.
  • The Big Guy: Vladimir and Anatoly Ranskahov. But only when they're operating on their own. To Wilson Fisk, they mostly provide muscle and wheels.
  • Big Red Devil: Matt eventually gets Melvin Potter to build him such a suit, so that Matt has "a symbol" to use against criminals.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • In "World on Fire," Karen claims that she only speaks Spanish at a high-school level. However, Deborah Ann Woll's command of it is quite impressive, as she understands Spanish vocabulary beyond what most high school classes would teach. On the other side of the spectrum, despite the show suggesting otherwise, Charlie Cox's rapid-fire Spanish isn't actually that good.
    • Anyone fluent in the languages can tell that James Wesley often declines to quite translate them accurately. Also, the Russian used by Vladimir and Anatoly is very colloquial (and somewhat broken), whereas the subtitles are more straightforward.
    • The Japanese characters written over the block of tenements on Nobu's map read "kuro sora" — literally, "black sky".
    • As the FBI starts dismantling Fisk's organization, we hear the aria "Nessun Dorma" from Turandot. The final word of the aria is a triumphant "Vincero!" repeated three times. "Vincero" translates into "I Will Win", and at this point the heroes seem to be victorious. Fisk, of course, still has one last-ditch effort to make with his attempted escape from custody.
    • When Wilson Fisk bombs the Russians' hideouts during Foggy and Karen's dinner, Elena rushes into the living room and shouts, "The heavens are opening up again!" in Spanish.
    • Being French herself, Elodie Yung speaks perfectly unaccented French as Elektra. As does Jacques, the assassin Stick sends after her.
    • In Season 2, Hirochi, a member of the Hand calls Daredevil "Akuma-san." Akuma means demon/devil in Japanese. -san is a polite honorific title, roughly equivalent to Mr./Ms. He's calling him Mr. Devil. They're really polite, that way.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Quadrilingual, actually. Throughout season 1, meetings between Wilson Fisk's cronies involve English, Japanese, Chinese, and Russian (although Vladimir and Anatoly speak English when directly speaking to Leland, Fisk, or Wesley), with Wesley being the only one who can understand what everyone is saying. Or so it seems. Fisk and Madame Gao can also understand and speak all four, and Nobu knows English as well, but all keep it a secret. Wesley's a bit disappointed when he realizes he's a Completely Unnecessary Translator.
  • Birds of a Feather: Matt and Karen. They are both driven by a sense of justice, they both have an inner struggle about life and death (Matt fears crossing that line because he knows there's no return; Karen is racked with guilt after killing James Wesley). They both think other people's lives are worth saving (Grotto and Frank Castle) even if they've done bad things, and they want to seek justice in their own way. They even like the same kind of simple "cheap" life.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Season 1 ends with something of a Pyrrhic victory. Matt, Karen and Foggy succeed in bringing down Fisk's operations within the law, and Daredevil stops Fisk when he makes a run for it. However, a lot of people suffered and died along the way, including Mrs. Cardenas and Ben Urich. Also, Karen killed Wesley, and Fisk will have her killed if he ever finds out. Further, the most powerful of Fisk's partners, such his allies within The Hand (Madame Gao and Nobu), are still out there.
    • Season 2 is even starker. Nobu is killed again and it's implied that he won't be coming back this time, while Frank has exacted his revenge on the Blacksmith. However...(deep breath) Frank was released from prison with Fisk's help, and he knows his crusade against organized crime will only serve to help Fisk regain control of his criminal empire once he's out of prison. Matt and Elektra rekindled their relationship only for her to die saving him and then her body is taken by the Hand, a fate she was trying to avoid in the first place. Nelson & Murdock dissolve in both business and friendship, and while Karen goes on to become a reporter for The New York Bulletin and Foggy takes a lucrative position at Hogarth, Chao, and Benowitz, Matt is left with only Karen, out of a job, and facing a dark future as his enemies are growing in power. So for him it's a straight-up Downer Ending, though that's mitigated by The Defenders which show that Matt is doing very good running a solo law practice out of his apartment and he is still on amicable (albeit awkward) speaking terms with Karen and Foggy.
  • Black and Gray Morality:
    • The show dramatizes the ethical dilemma of Matt Murdock, a lawyer sworn to uphold the law, who is routinely breaking it as a vigilante.
    • Matt also fights a second ethical dilemma under this same trope. As a Catholic, murder is a mortal sin and would damn his soul, but with all the pain and death Fisk is causing, Matt feels he may be obligated to kill him anyway.
    • Wilson Fisk was written to be well-intentioned in order to highlight and intensify Matt's moral dilemmas.
  • Black Best Friend:
    • Sgt. Brett Mahoney is one to Nelson & Murdock.
    • While not a friend, Ben Urich functions as an ally for Karen.
    • The first ally Fisk is able to make in prison is Stewart Finney, a black accountant.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Compared to the films by a country mile. People get grievous injuries all the time.
    • The moment that sets this firmly in stone is when Wilson Fisk kills Anatoly by smashing his head in with a car door so many times that his brain falls out before his head gets crushed off of his neck.
    • And the less we talk about the massive slash wounds Matt receives during his fight with Nobu, the better.
    • A lot of Frank Castle's victims don't look so pretty to look at after he kills them.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: "Condemned" ends with Vladimir holding off a corrupt ESU unit while Matt escapes through drainage tunnels. The last thing heard in the episode is Vladimir continuing to fire his weapon.
  • Book Ends:
    • In the first episodes, Karen asks if Matt and Foggy are Good Samaritans, setting up that they are the good guys. In the FBI transport at the end, Fisk realizes that he's a bad guy by relating the story of the Good Samaritan. Likewise, Fisk's life of crime begins with him staring at a wall, thinking about the man he will become. It ends with him in prison, staring a blank wall, clearly thinking about what man he will be once he leaves prison.
    • In the first and last episode, Matt is seen working out at the ring where his father trained.
    • Episode 12 starts with Karen, after killing Wesley, having a nightmare where the Kingpin invades her home, talks to her calmly and then kills her. The episode ends with Fisk invading Ben Urich's home, talking to him calmly, and then killing him.
    • "Shadows in the Glass", Fisk's Day in the Limelight episode begins and ends with his morning routine. The first step of which is to stare momentarily at his new painting, which resembles the wall he was supposed to stare at on the evening he killed his father. His last scene in season one is staring at a very similar wall in prison.
    • In the first fight scene of the series, Matt open with a leaping downward punch. He uses exactly the same move to finish his climactic fight against Fisk.
    • James Wesley is introduced strong-arming a guard into carrying out a hit on Karen by threatening the life of his daughter. In his last scene, Karen kills Wesley after he tries to strong-arm her into backing off by threatening the lives of her bosses.
  • Boom, Headshot!: A common method of execution.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: When Karen and Foggy enter the lobby of Landman & Zack, Karen says, about the architecture, "Feels like a place in a movie where you'd buy a clone. Maybe a robot baby. Or the clone of a robot baby."
  • Breaking Out The Museum Piece: For season 3, Matt returns to his old ninja costume from season 1, as the red devil suit that Melvin built him was damaged beyond repair in Midland Circle.
  • Breather Episode:
    • "Stick" in season 1 takes a break from the Fisk storyline to set up the Hand storyline that's going to come into play in season 2 and The Defenders. At least on Matt's end, that's the case, as Karen keeps the investigation going through meetings with Ben Urich and Elena Cardenas.
    • "Kinbaku" in season 2 has no scenes of Matt in costume. The episode is primarily spent establishing Matt's past relationship with Elektra while he also begins dating Karen.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In the first episode, Foggy steals some tea from the financial office across the hall form Nelson & Murdock to brew for Karen. Later, in the "Nelson v. Murdock" flashbacks, Matt and Foggy have a similar exchange when Foggy is stealing bagels to fit into his box as they prepare to quit Landman & Zack.
    • In the "Nelson v. Murdock" flashbacks, Matt and Foggy joke about being "Avocados at Law" after Foggy mispronounces "abogado" (the Spanish word for lawyer). In the season 1 finale, Matt makes the joke to a confused Karen as they're admiring the newly erected Nelson & Murdock placard on the street.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Wilson Fisk has shades of this (incidentally, Vincent D'Onofrio is a native of Brooklyn's Bensonhurst neighborhood. In flashbacks, his father is played by Domenick Lombardozzi, a native of The Bronx).
  • Burner Phones: Matt gives a burner phone to Claire so she can keep in touch with him, and uses one himself. Foggy teases him about calling girls on it.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Detective Blake. The guy is incredibly unlucky for a lackey of Fisk. First he gets utterly humiliated by Matt and Foggy's rule-fu regarding Karen's Union Allied matter. Then he gets his right arm broken by Matt outside the precinct, leading to Matt obtaining the list of the Russians' hideouts. Because the information fell into Matt's hands, Fisk decides to have him killed. Thus he orders an ESU sniper to gun Blake down outside the scene where Matt is holed up with Vladimir. But Blake manages to survive this. So his best friend/partner Hoffman is sent to poison him, finishing him off for good.
    • After the introductory episode, a lot of Turk Barrett's appearances involve things going south for him. His guns don't work properly, he gets beaten up by Matt really thoroughly twice, and then the FBI arrests him. Right after making parole, he continues the streak by having Matt break his hand and then throw his car keys in the water. Then he gets kidnapped by the Hand for being connected to Daredevil, and his foot is almost cut off when Karen activates his tracking bracelet.
  • Call-Back:
    • In the first part of season 2, characters make repeat references to Wilson Fisk, making clear that Fisk had major influence in the criminal underworld and the power vacuum left open in its wake.
    • In "Semper Fidelis," Matt and Karen reminisce about the night they first met. The cinematography is very similar, but the roles are reversed (Matt gets a glass of water from the sink in the first scene; the second time around, it's Karen. Their positions on the couch are switched, with Karen sitting on the end closer to the window and Matt sitting on the end closer to the door).
    • In the very end of season two the theme for Jack Murdock's death plays during Karen's monologue.
  • Call-Forward: When Karen reveals she can speak Spanish, just like Matt, Foggy quips that if the firm needs anyone to speak Punjabi, he's their man. Later, when we see a flashback to how they met in law school (as roommates) Matt says he's taking Spanish class, whereas Foggy is taking Punjabi.
  • The Cameo:
    • Stan Lee makes an appearance as a photo at the 15th Precinct.
    • Stone, one of Stick's pupils from the comics, also makes a cameo at the end of the episode "Stick."
    • Jeri Hogarth appears in the Season 2 finale to offer Foggy a job at her firm.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • The majority of Wilson Fisk's associates are all-new characters created exclusively for the show.
    • Marci Stahl is a new character created for the show, but she does have some traits of Deborah Harris (Foggy's wife in the comics).
  • Cardboard Box of Unemployment:
    • Matt and Foggy pack some Banker's boxes as they prepare to quit their internship at Landman & Zack to go strike out on their own.
    • After getting fired from the Bulletin, Ben Urich is shown bringing home a Banker's box with all his office memorabilia including his framed front page articles, just in time for Wilson Fisk to choke him to death.
    • Season 2 episode 12 sees Foggy packing up his office knick-knacks in a Banker's box as Matt pulls the plug on Nelson & Murdock.
  • The Cartel: A Mexican drug cartel is another target of the Punisher, who hangs them up on meat hooks in their own locker after killing them.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Karen has one after she kills Wesley and imagines Fisk telling her that it will be easier for her to kill in the future.
  • Celebrity Paradox: In "World on Fire," when hinting that they know Piotr is about to say Wilson Fisk's name, Detective Blake says "He'd have to be King frickin' Kong." Andy Serkis, who plays the motion capture for King Kong in the 2005 remake, is Ulysses Klaue in the MCU.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower:
    • Reconstructed. Matt's physical strength is that of a normal human, albeit a very fit one with an entire life of martial arts training. Because of this, he is constantly shown being exhausted, getting wounded, and requiring dozens of blows to take down even a single foe.
    • Stick lacks Matt's chemically-enhanced senses, yet can still fight him to a standstill because of his Spartan lifestyle.
    • Downplayed with Wilson Fisk. He is frighteningly strong, but it's not more than the strength you would expect of a really big, really burly man; and he augments this strength with a lightweight body armor sewn into his suits.
    • Frank Castle is just as dangerous as Matt, even without enhanced senses or ninja training (although he does have combat training). In melee combat Frank trades off agility and martial arts for sheer brutality and pragmatism.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Leland Owlsley quips about dusting off his old taser in "World on Fire" in light of Matt's conflict with the Russians, and Fisk having just killed Anatoly. Two episode later, in "Stick", he gets to use it on Matt when Matt is distracted by Stick showing up. In the season 1 finale, he tries to use it to stun an enraged Fisk, to no effect.
    • Foggy remarks to Matt early on in "Stick" about how Karen carries mace on her keychain. Later in the episode, when she gets jumped outside Elena's building, she uses the mace to stun her attackers, though it doesn't do much stop them until Foggy shows up to provide some assistance with his softball bat.
    • At the beginning of season 2, Turk, due to being out on parole, references how he will be put on house arrest after Daredevil beats him up. In the season 2 finale his ankle monitor is used by Karen to call for help when Turk and Karen are kidnapped by The Hand.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Marci Stahl, who appears originally just to demonstrate that Landman & Zack are shady attorneys and provide humor at the idea of her being Foggy's ex-girlfriend, turns out to be vital in locating Hoffman and taking down Fisk by copying files on Fisk and Owlsley's finances because Foggy convinced her not to "lose her soul."
    • Brett Mahoney, Matt and Foggy's Friend on the Force; he is one of the few clean cops in the NYPD that Hoffman can safely turn himself into.
    • Detective Hoffman, initially just one of various corrupt cops on Fisk's payroll, later becomes the key to dismantling Fisk's criminal empire.
    • Colonel Schoonover, who appears to be a Cool Old Guy character witness during Frank Castle's trial, is actually the druglord who killed Frank's family. Or one of three main players, as Frank's own show reveals.
    • Turk Barrett, a minor criminal Matt encounters in seasons 1 and 2, actually plays an important role in the season 2 finale as Karen uses his parole bracelet to notify the police of their location.
  • The Chosen One: It's strongly implied that Matt may unknowingly be this, given Stick and Stone's comments about how he needs to be ready when "the doors open".
  • Civvie Spandex: During season 1, Matt's superhero costume is just black civilian clothing and a hood. Following his return to Hell's Kitchen in season 3, he returns to the old costume, as the red armor was damaged beyond repair under Midland Circle.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: In contrast to Matt's preferred Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique (the 'heroic'' kind of torture!), some of the more vicious villains are singled out with this;
  • Color Motifs:
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: The first season has been called "Year One" for Daredevil and his Rogues Gallery so no one has their codenames yet.
    • Matt only gets his nickname "Daredevil" from the media after he takes down Fisk. Till then, he's just "the Devil of Hell's Kitchen," "the Masked Man", or "the Black Mask," even in subtitles. Even after he acquires his name, the main characters have a conversation about whether it sounds dorky. And even with the 'Daredevil' name, the old 'Devil of Hell's Kitchen' moniker lingers on, with Karen, Brett, Frank, even Matt himself using the old name, and even in The Defenders, the Hand leaders use the Devil of Hell's Kitchen name.
    • Wilson Fisk is never referred to as 'Kingpin'. Although there are many references to his nickname in season 1: Ben Urich uses a playing-card motif to chart out the conspiracy, and refers to him as "the King of Diamonds"... with a large white pushpin stuck through the card; at one point Blake calls him "King Freakin' Kong". In season 2, Fisk finally adapts it as a moniker after having disposed of Dutton, the previous kingpin of the drug trade in the prison. Though it doesn't seem to have caught on outside of prison, as all of the references to Fisk in Luke Cage are only by his legal name.
    • The Owl is only referred to by his real name of Leland Owlsley. Though in this case he's an old man with no powers instead of a supervillain... but he mentions a son...
    • The Fixer, Roscoe Sweeney, is only referred to by his last name.
    • The Gladiator only goes by his real name of Melvin Potter.
    • Similar to Daredevil, Frank Castle's nickname "The Punisher" is a nickname made by the DA's office.
    • While individual members of The Avengers are alluded to several times, only Captain America is mentioned by name all of once, when Foggy says "I might as well be Captain America. Doesn't put wings on my head."
  • Completely Unnecessary Translator: Wilson Fisk's allies all have varying degrees of fluency in each other's languages that they've deliberately kept secret, to Wesley's embarrassment. The Russians speak broken English, Nobu speaks it fluently, and both Fisk and Gao understand all four languages.
  • Composite Character:
    • Claire Temple's role of patching up Matt after fights makes her similar to the minor Marvel character Night Nurse.
    • While Karen Page maintains her initial job as Nelson & Murdock's secretary and Matt's love interest, she ends up taking over Ben Urich's duties as Matt's newspaper informant beginning in season 2.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Fisk in season 2 only gets two episodes due to being locked up awaiting trial, but in that limited screentime, he single-handedly sets up the third act of the season and orchestrates a major retaliatory move against Nelson & Murdock. With the defeat of the Hand in The Defenders, Fisk resumes his role in season 3 as the show's main antagonist.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: In season one, Matt was nearly killed by Nobu. In season two, he fights groups of ninjas and despite protective gear, being more experienced, and having Elektra by his side, he still has trouble beating them until he learns how to focus his senses in such a way as to trace them.
    • Played painfully straight in the season 2 finale. While Matt goes head-to-head with Nobu, holding his own fairly well, a ton of Hand ninjas go after Elektra. She handles them all fairly easily. . . until there's only two of them left, and they actually manage to pin her to the ground (albeit briefly.)
  • Continuity Nod: Has its own page.
  • Continuity Reboot: The series is completely unconnected to the 2003 Daredevil movie. It also counts for the Punisher in season 2 onwards, who is completely unrelated to any previous versions of the character.
  • Continuity Snarl: Despite being shown in multiple posters for the show, Avengers Tower is nowhere to be seen in the show itself. Instead, what really exists there, the MetLife Building, is seen in its place (look at the Midtown skyline in the background when Karen is meeting with the Union Allied lawyer in "Rabbit in a Snowstorm" for a good example).
    • Flashbacks to the time Matt met Elektra indicate they happened "ten years ago." Except season 2 is implicitly set in 2015, and Matt (who is shown to be friends with Foggy at the time) only started college in Fall 2010.
  • Contrived Coincidence: In season 2, the fact that the druglord responsible for the shootout that got Frank's family killed was Castle's former CO who had gone into the heroin business. At least, until The Punisher reveals it's not so coincidental at all...
  • Corrupt Politician:
    • Wilson Fisk has numerous city officials, cops, and at least one state senator (Senator Cherryh) in his pocket who use their influence to change the zoning regulations in Hell's Kitchen on his behalf.
    • Fisk's father was a Corrupt Politician-wannabe. He ran for office specifically so he could then become wealthy from the kickbacks.
    • Samantha Reyes, the District Attorney of Manhattan, has a reputation for backstabbing.
    • Rosalie Carbone, a political fixer and crime lord who is an associate of Fisk's in season 3, and also does business with Mariah Dillard in Harlem.
  • Costume Evolution: Matt starts with a black athletic outfit with a black bandana serving as a skullcap, which he adds additional protective gear to over the course of season 1. After meeting Melvin Potter, he gets a red devil costume made of a custom Kevlar-esque fabric, an armored helmet and armor plates. In season 2, Melvin continues upgrading Matt's costume with new gauntlets, boots and padding, and gets a new helmet after Frank Castle cracks his old one.
  • Cross Through:
    • Samantha Reyes in season 2 started out in the season 1 finale of Jessica Jones.
    • Karen has a recurring role in The Punisher season 1, set in between The Defenders and season 3 of Daredevil.
    • Rosalie Carbone in season 3 crosses through from Luke Cage season 2.
    • Benjamin Donovan is a back-and-forth type, introduced here in season 2 as Fisk's replacement consigliere, but then having a recurring role in the first two seasons of Luke Cage prior to coming back to season 3 of Daredevil.
  • Cruel to Be Kind:
    • Matt keeps Foggy and Karen out of his superheroics to keep them safe(r), even if it means pushing them away. Stick recommends this. By the season 2 finale, he realizes that shutting his friends out doesn't make anything better, leading him to come clean with Karen. So for season 3, he brings them into the action for extra assistance in taking on Fisk.
    • Wilson Fisk sees himself as this as well — yes, he has people evicted, disappeared, even killed, but all for the sake of helping the city "live up to its full potential". The omelette he makes every morning reflects this "you gotta break a few eggs" philosophy. After finding out the truth, Foggy asks Matt point-blank how his rationale is any different from Fisk's.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: A prerequisite to working at Nelson & Murdock. Matt and Karen feel obligated to right wrongs and protect the weak and the abused, even at the risk of their own safety and well-being. Foggy does so too, but not to the reckless extents that the others do.
  • Cult: Madame Gao, as one of the Hand's founders. She claims her employees serve her due to faith. Her runners voluntarily blind themselves, thinking it will free them from worldly distractions and are willing to blow themselves up on her command.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Matt was blinded in a car accident at the age of 9, and his father shot dead after refusing to take a dive not long after that.
    • It's hinted at throughout the first two seasons, and finally revealed in the third season, that Karen has a dark and violent history.
    • Wilson Fisk killed his own father when he was a child, to save his mother.
  • The Dark Chick:
    • Madame Gao manufactures heroin to provide funding, but that clearly isn't the limit of her capabilities, as she is one of the Hand's leaders.
    • Elektra, natch.
  • Darker and Edgier: Thanks to Netflix's laxer broadcast standards, the show can get away with violence and mature content never seen in the 2003 Daredevil film, the MCU movies, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or Agent Carter. This is subtly reflected in the writing, which has far fewer jokes and gags than other MCU works.
  • Dating Catwoman:
    • Foggy has Marci Stahl, who works for rival firm Landman & Zack in season 1, and later goes to work for Hogarth, Chao & Benowitz after much of L&Z is indicted for aiding Wilson Fisk. This is mostly because Landman & Zack have hated Foggy and Matt ever since they chose to start their own firm rather than join the team.
    • Platonically, there's Matt and Foggy's friendships with Sgt. Brett Mahoney, a police officer. Brett's a cop and Foggy and Matt are defense attorneys, two professions that generally make enemies of each other (which they even lampshade).
    • Also, Matt Murdock and Elektra, though who's "corrupting" whom at any given moment is matter for some debate.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Ben Urich is killed off by Wilson Fisk in the penultimate episode of season 1, when the comics counterpart is still ticking on. As a result, Karen ends up being shifted into the role Ben plays in the comics.
    • Leland Owlsley, if he is indeed the MCU's version of The Owl, doesn't outlive the first season. However, he mentions a son, who may become the actual Owl later on.
  • Decapitation Required: Stick seems confident that cutting the supposedly immortal Nobu's head off will be enough to make sure he's Killed Off for Real. Iron Fist eventually confirms that decapitation is the only way to permanently kill off those resurrected by the Hand. That, or mutilating the body in such a way that resurrection is impossible.
  • Department of Child Disservices: The incident that spurred Matt to vigilantism was when he called child protective services on a father that was molesting his kid, but they couldn't find proof of abuse, so they were powerless to stop it.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In one of the "Nelson v. Murdock" flashbacks to Matt and Foggy's law school days, Foggy claims "I'll have you know that Punjabi is the future language of the future." To be fair, he was drunk at the time...
  • Destructive Romance: Matt and Elektra; when they were together in college its said Matt nearly ruined his future because of how much of a bad influence she was on him, and when they reunite in the present, his career and budding relationship with Karen are ruined as a direct result. Meanwhile, Matt's positive influence actually has a negative effect on Elektra; she's shown struggling with self-loathing because Matt's restraint makes her feel like a monster, her strive to be better because of him causes her to reject her teachings and puts her in the crosshairs of the Chaste (who consider her too dangerous to leave as a Wild Card), and ultimately results in her death and resurrection by the Hand when she chooses to side with him against them.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Marci Stahl. After playing a somewhat major part in the resolution of season 1, Marci only gets two scenes in season 2: having drinks with Foggy at Josie's and later visiting him at the hospital after he gets shot in the Reyes assassination to tell him that Jeri Hogarth is headhunting him. In The Defenders she just gets mentioned by Foggy, confirming the two have a relationship, and a two second scene of talking to Foggy in the background that's interrupted with Jeri taking Foggy aside to ask him to babysit Jessica. This reverses course in season 3, where she has a much larger role due to Foggy still dating her fulltime.
    • In season 1, Father Lantom is a recurring character who regularly gives Matt advice about whether or not he's doing the right thing. Since then, he's only had two appearances: for Grotto's funeral in season 2, and a confessional at the start of The Defenders.
    • Combined with Commuting on a Bus: After being the main antagonist of season 1, Wilson Fisk only appears in two episodes in season 2. However, the impact of his removal from the streets is shown in great detail throughout the first part of season 2. And what limited time Fisk appears onscreen is responsible for setting up the entire third act of season 2, and sets up Fisk for his story arc in season 3. His reduced role in season 2 is justified by the fact that he is, after all, in prison and therefore, outside stuff has to be done through proxies.
  • Determinator: Matt regularly continues fighting even after taking massive physical injuries.
    • Even being maimed, cut up, and barely able to stand won't stop Matt from taking on an entire hideout of Russian thugs to save a kidnapped boy.
    • During the fight with Nobu, Matt gets slashed open half a dozen times, stabbed in the abdomen, and then still manages to defeat his enemy, and start a fight with Fisk. From that point forward in the season, the large gash he received remains constant, and we see that it tears back open every time he gets into a fight. In season 2, he still has the scars and shows them to Elektra at one point.
  • Deuteragonist: Karen's headstrong, investigative nature causes her to advance the plot forward as much as, if not more than, Matt himself. In season 1, the exposure of Wilson Fisk is as much the result of Matt's interventions as Daredevil as it is Karen's use of the media. It's more apparent in season 2, where Karen keeps the Punisher plotline going while Matt becomes involved with helping Elektra fight the Hand. And in season 3, she even gets a significant amount of time dedicated to exploring her mysterious backstory.
  • Dirty Cop:
    • In season 1, Wilson Fisk has dozens of NYPD officers working in teams in his pocket. They're so corrupt that they're even willing to murder fellow officers for Fisk. In the finale, he even turns out to have bribed some of the FBI agents in the convoy.
    • In season 2, Fisk is warned by Stewart Finney to be careful around the prison kingpin Dutton, because Dutton runs about 80% of the contraband in Riker's, and has a lot of the guards in his pocket. After Fisk manages to arrange for Frank Castle to dispose of Dutton and Dutton's entire gang, it seems he has all of the guards in his pocket, and they actively smuggle Castle out of the prison.
    • Season 3 further builds on the dirty FBI agents that Fisk was established to have in his pocket in season 1.
  • Disability Superpower: In the show itself, how Matt sees things isn't explained until "World on Fire" halfway through the first season. Unlike the 2003 film where it is mostly sonar, here it's a bit more realistic as a conglomeration of all his remaining senses including smell and touch. It's represented mostly through sound effects, especially heartbeats, and occasional lens focusing effects as Matt hones in on a particular thing. We only get one POV shot, where to him it's like a "World on Fire."
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Finn Cooley in "Penny and Dime". He's established as the returning leader of the Kitchen Irish, a ruthless and unbalanced mob boss with a vendetta against the Punisher, but he's killed at the end of his introductory episode. With him, the Irish, Dogs of Hell and cartels are all dismissed as villains in favor of larger concerns.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Wilson Fisk is feared because he won't just stop with you if you fail or snitch on him, he will come for everyone you know.
    • Fisk bashes Anatoly's head in with a car door all because the poor bastard had the nerve to interrupt his dinner date with Vanessa, to the point of reducing it to goop. And then he proceeds to bomb all of the Russian gangs' hideouts and kill off Vladimir.
    • When they've finally had enough of him in Season 2, Nobu and The Hand go after Daredevil by kidnapping everyone he's ever saved. You'd think Nobu, of all people, would know what a bad idea it is to hit DD's Berserk Button.
  • Downer Ending: Season 2's ending is closer to this than Bittersweet Ending. While Frank does survive and escape to go start his own series and Nobu finally dies for real, Elektra is dead and her corpse is taken by The Hand, Nelson and Murdock is finished with Matt and Foggy possibly becoming irreparably estranged, and Matt reveals that he's Daredevil to Karen, which as The Defenders shows is the start of the mending process. On top of all of that, Claire lost her job at the hospital (though Luke Cage shows that she's taken up working with Luke and found a better calling), and Fisk is running his prison with ease and will be gunning for both Matt and Foggy the absolute second he's released due to Matt infuriating him even more.
  • The Dragon: Nobu, Fisk's criminal partner whom Daredevil has the most trouble with (outside of Fisk himself). Nobu gets upgraded to the main villain in the second season when the Hand becomes the primary antagonist.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Right in the opening teaser of the pilot episode, Turk loads his bullet with the slide conveniently letting our blind hero know where he is and that he has a gun but two minutes later he does it again even after having fired bullets and not putting in a new magazine.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Wilson Fisk has this reputation in the criminal underworld of Hell's Kitchen, to the point where even mentioning his name is taboo.
    • Nobu and his organization are feared by even Fisk, to the point he doesn't dare to cross them personally.
    • Madame Gao even moreso. Wesley is prepared to oppose Nobu's organization if necessarynote , but when Owlsley suggests that Madame Gao might have decided to turn against them, Wesley simply says that in that case, it was an honor working with him.
  • Driven to Suicide: Healy near the end of "Rabbit in a Snowstorm" due to Matt making him name Fisk. Upon naming Fisk, he promptly impales his head on a spike so that Fisk won't murder him or anyone he loves for naming him.
  • Dwindling Party: A villainous example with Wilson Fisk's crime partners. In order: first the Russian brothers, Anatoly and Vladimir, go down, killed by Fisk's machinations as retribution for Anatoly interrupting Fisk's date with Vanessa. Then Nobu dies, set on fire in the midst of his fight with Matt. Then Wesley is killed by Karen. Madame Gao splits town. Vanessa and Fisk are separated when Fisk is arrested. This is Lampshaded by Leland Owlsley, who says: "We're all in this together. What's left of us, anyway." In the end Leland is killed as well, leaving Fisk Lonely at the Top.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Similar to how season 1 of Jessica Jones introduced Luke Cage well before he got his own show, season 2 of Daredevil was used to introduce Frank Castle, ostensibly as a test to see if he was worth giving his own show, which he passed.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower:
    • It is late in season 2 when Stick teaches Matt a way to track the ninjas through their breathing. (The ninjas make no sound when moving and can conceal their heartbeats so Matt can't track them like he usually does.)
    • Similarly, Matt doesn't get his iconic grappling-club until the finale of season 2.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: "Foggy Bear". Foggy doesn't let anyone but Marci Stahl call him that.
  • Enemy Civil War:
    • Matt's actions against the Russians destabilize their relationship with Wilson Fisk, in turn causing a war initially the between the Russians and Fisk, and then between Fisk and the other factions in The Syndicate.
    • At the start of season 2, new gangs are moving in to fill the vacuum caused by Fisk's downfall. The Punisher's attacks on them ultimately causes a gang war to break out, with the blood getting so bad that at one point, Foggy has to break up a skirmish on an emergency room floor.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Wilson Fisk's organization is very ethnically diverse. In season 1, the main gangs he works with are the Russians, the Chinese, and the Yakuza. Season 2 mentions that some of the Kitchen Irish worked for him. Come season 3, he works with new organizations including African-American and Albanian gangs.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • In Matt's first three scenes he saves a stranger, at the cost of his sight, takes confession with his priest, and snaps a human trafficker's femur with his bare hands.
    • The first thing we see Foggy doing is waking up Matt with a phone call, making fun of his (supposed) sex life, and soft-bribing Sgt. Brett Mahoney with cigars for his mother.
    • Karen fights off a guard who tries to kill her in her cell, establishing that she's capable of defending herself and has a history with violence. Later, when Matt takes her back to his apartment, she starts asking him questions about his blindness, showing that she's curious about people around her.
    • After several episodes establishing Wilson Fisk's fierce reputation, Fisk is introduced at an art gallery, awkwardly hitting on Vanessa and showing very little self-confidence, establishing that he's not your standard mob boss. A short time later, he decapitates Anatoly with a car door for embarrassing him, establishing that his terrifying reputation is well founded.
  • Establishing Series Moment: For some, the opening fight scene with Matt attacking Turk's gang of human traffickers at the docks, as it is far more brutal than we're used to from the MCU, giving people a taste of just what they're in for with this one. For others, it's the one-take hallway fight with the Russians. And for others, it's when Wilson Fisk kills Anatoly by decapitating him with a car door.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas:
    • Wilson Fisk killed his abusive dad to defend his mother.
    • Fisk exploits this trope to get power in jail, enlisting the Valdez brothers as his personal bodyguards by arranging for their mom's rent to be paid out permanently.
  • Evil Counterpart: Matt and Fisk.
    • Both have the desire to "make their city a better place" and don't hesitate to use brutality if needed. However, Matt generally stops shy of lethal force and tries to direct his brutality towards criminals while Fisk's ambitions often impact everyone including innocent lives.
    • Fisk started off as a meek child who abhorred violence and gradually became murderous. The Murdocks' familial dark side is a penchant for brutality, yet Matt keeps it in check despite being trained as a warrior.
    • Fisk's father was abusive and coerced him into violence, while Matt's father was very loving and never wanted him to fight.
    • Both men were shown to be offered alcohol as kids. When it's shown with Matt, it's a touching scene of father-son bonding. When it's done to Fisk, it's shown as a case of peer pressure.
    • Matt's faith is a major reason he stays on the side of angels. Fisk claims he's never had the mind for prayer or religion, and in the Season 1 finale invokes a bible passage in his "I am the ill intent" speech in the convoy.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Vladimir and Anatoly Ranskahov are very close to each other, and Vladimir is devastated following his brother's death at Fisk's hands.
    • Discussed by Matt in conversations with Father Lantom. Matt considers Fisk to be truly evil, but Fisk has people he cares about, specifically Vanessa, Wesley, and his mother, for whom the feelings are mutual. This makes it much more difficult for Matt to paint Fisk as the monster he wants him to be. Fisk is distraught when Karen kills Wesley, as Wesley was the closest thing he had to a friend.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In "Speak of the Devil", Father Lantom talks about witnessing an event in the Rwanda genocides of 1994 where a militia tried to kill a village elder by cutting his head off with a machete. Then after seeing how much his followers loved him, they couldn't go through with it and just wanted to give him a quick death by shooting him instead. Their leader...he had no such standards.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Marci Stahl stops mispronouncing Elena Cardenas's name after she gets murdered, since she thinks it's cruel to make jokes about people who have been murdered. When she thinks Daredevil caused the bombings, she's reluctant to work with him. She also has disdain for Reyes and her response to the fact that Reyes has a serious shot at the Mayor's chair by building an anti-vigilante platform off Frank Castle's conviction or persecution of types like Jessica Jones, is to take a very bitter drink.
    • Frank has no interest in killing Matt, even when he has Matt at his mercy, as even after all the people he has killed, he only cares about targeting the gangs affiliated with the Central Park shootout. He also doesn't unmask Matt despite having him at his mercy since he doesn't care who he is under the mask. He later tells Karen that he wasn't trying to kill her when he was chasing down Grotto, whom she was protecting at the time, because he only goes after criminals who deserve it. In addition, he has a bit of extra hatred for anyone who'd deal in (or presumably make or read, etc.) child pornography. After buying supplies from a pawn shop dealer, the dealer offers him child porn. He responds by killing the guy with a baseball bat.
      • One of Frank's victims at the Kitchen Irish bloodbath is the son of Finn Cooley. A few episodes later, Finn Cooley captures Frank and is preparing to torture him for...his money that Frank stole. Even though Frank made it his mission to kill people like this, he's still rather incredulous about this kind of attitude.
    Frank Castle: Your kid's in a box. But you want your money, huh?
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: One of Matt's favorite moves in the series is a spinning kick, with the number of spins varying for effect.
  • Everytown, America: Karen comes from Fagan Corners, Vermont, a town she describes on her first date with Matt as being less than 400 people and where the most ethnic food was french fries. She doesn't like talking about her life before she came to the big city, given that she remembers her life in Fagan Corners for the car accident that killed her brother as well as a bunch of other past traumatic events that she hints at over the course of the first two seasons before finally being revealed in season 3.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The Rwanda militia leader Father Lantom mentioned in "Speak of the Devil". Whatever they were talking about, the conversation ended with him beheading the local elder and his family.
  • The Evil Genius: Owlsley, the money launderer who stays out of the day-to-day activities of the group.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: By the beginning of season 2, various formerly low-profile gangs are fighting over the territories left open due to Wilson Fisk being taken off the streets and his allies having been killed or gone into hiding.
  • Expository Theme Tune: "Beautiful Crime" by Tamer, which was used in number of promotional materials, talks about Matt and Fisk and their world's Grey and Gray Morality.
    We fight every night for something.
    When the sun sets we're both the same,
    Half in the shadows.
    Half burned in flames.
  • Eye Scream:
    • As a child, Matt got blinded by a poisonous and corrosive chemical being splashed right into his eyes
    • When Clyde Farnum, the guard Wesley blackmails into hanging Karen, carries out the attempt, Karen defends herself by clawing at his face hard enough that her nails draw blood from his right eye. We see that Farnum is still wearing an eyepatch bandage over that eye when Fisk has him killed off later.
    • Matt, at Claire's suggestion, tortures Semyon by stabbing him through the top of the eye socket
    • Healy impales himself on a metal spike through the head, the spike entering between the eyes, rather than let Fisk go after his family.
    • Madame Gao's heroin workers are all blind, with scars around their eyes, implied to have blinded themselves after she showed them something. With her advanced age, and it being revealed in Iron Fist that she is a member of the Hand, the implications are disturbing.
    • In the opening to "Penny and Dime," Finn Cooley kills an underling by stabbing him through the eye with an ice pick. At the end of the episode, Finn himself meets such a fate at the end of the episode when Frank Castle shoots him in the left side of his face with a shotgun.
    • Elektra kills one Hand ninja by stabbing him in the eye with her sai and twisting the blade to burrow it in farther. The sound effects are incredibly gruesome, including the sound of the sai tip scraping against the back of the skull.
  • Fake Guest Star: Despite Sgt. Brett Mahoney having a larger role than many of the main cast members in season 2, Royce Johnson still doesn't get main credits billing.
  • FBI Agent:
    • With large portions of the NYPD are in Fisk's pocket, Nelson & Murdock have Detective Hoffman strike a plea deal with the FBI in which he gives up Fisk and most of the key players in his organization. Fisk is arrested and put into the back of an armored truck guarded by an FBI SWAT team. Unfortunately, one of the FBI agents in the truck is on Fisk's payroll, and kills the other agents in the truck when the convoy is ambushed by mercenaries working for Fisk, who also kill the other FBI agents and NYPD cops escorting the truck to Rikers.
    • The FBI take on a main role in season 3 of the show, coming into conflict with Matt, Karen and Foggy as both sides work to take down Fisk.
  • Fee Fi Faux Pas: There's quite a bit of attention drawn to the visually oriented gestures and sayings most people make without a second thought, causing them to feel quite awkward when they do it with Matt. The real estate agent tells him that he and Foggy can fight over the office with the better view. Karen holds a newspaper to his face to show an article about how terrible Wilson Fisk is. Ben Urich shrugs instead of verbally answering. Matt isn't bothered by it, and in the "Nelson v. Murdock" flashbacks, he says to Foggy that he'd rather people engage in faux pas on him than treat him like he's made of glass.
  • Fictional Counterpart: The New York Bulletin appears to be the equivalent of the New York Post.
  • Five-Bad Band: The crime ring of season one; consisting of Wilson Fisk, Nobu, James Wesley, Leland Owlsley, the Ranskahovs, and Madame Gao.
  • Flipping the Table:
    • When Madame Gao tells Wilson Fisk he will be removed if he does not reassert control over his criminal alliance, he ends up flipping his massive metal dining table in rage seconds after she leaves.
    • When Fisk goes public before Matt's group exposes him, Matt angrily knocks everything off his kitchen table.
    • In the last episode Matt flips over a table covered in playing cards when he finally gets to Hoffman, who he needs to take down Fisk's whole operation. Takes on extra symbolic significance given the Playing Card Motifs of Fisk's criminal empire.
  • Foil:
    • Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk. They're both defined by their past experience with their fathers, leading up to both deciding to do whatever it takes to make their city a better place. However, their methods of doing vary widely. Fisk's Not So Different observation is all the more poignant.
    • Leland Owlsley and Foggy Nelson. The respective snarky, cynical sidekicks to Wilson Fisk and Matt Murdock. However, Leland is a cynical dick who's been laundering criminals' money for decades, while Foggy quit Landman & Zack after Matt pointed out they weren't going to change the world that way, and is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
    • Karen Page maps more onto Vanessa than to Wesley, what with their unflagging loyalty to the Devil of Hell's Kitchen and Wilson Fisk, despite what others may say and do.
    • As a trio, Matt, Foggy, and Karen; to Fisk, Wesley, and Vanessa respectively. The leader (Matt and Fisk), the right-hand man (Foggy and Wesley), and a woman who is brought into the conflict by Fisk (Karen through getting framed up by Fisk; Vanessa through Fisk asking her out on a date).
    • Stick and Madame Gao are this as well- they are both elderly, members of ancient societies at war with each other (the Chaste and the Hand) tenuously allied with Matt/Fisk, though they eventually betray them, and they both tell Matt/Fisk to focus on their respective missions and sever their ties with the ones they love.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • A Punisher skull logo can be spotted on the wall of one of the access tunnels at the end of "Condemned".
    • In one of the motion posters, a glimpse of the red Daredevil costume can be seen in the muddy reflection of a puddle.
    • In Ben Urich's discussion with Silvio, the retired mobster, Silvio mentions that he's always had respect for Ben because he was the only reporter to never mention or go after his family (his kids in this case) in his articles. Fisk ends up killing Ben because he tried to use Fisk's mother in his expose.
    • A potentially unintentional example: when Karen opens the door to invite Wesley into Nelson & Murdock in "Rabbit in a Snowstorm", Wesley does what looks like a Finger Gun gesture with his left hand that's pointed at Karen. Several episodes later, it is Karen who ends up killing Wesley.
    • In "World on Fire," Foggy responds to Karen's frustration with the "new" (as in, "bought secondhand at auction") copier and fax machine by making some jokes about machines taking over the world.
    • In "Nelson v. Murdock," Foggy at one point says while berating Matt, "You're going to get yourself killed if you keep this up. You know that, right?"
    • "The Ones We Leave Behind" opens with Karen imagining Fisk appearing in her house killing her for killing Wesley. At the end of the episode, Ben goes home, and finds Fisk in his study, who kills him for involving his mother. For bonus points, Wesley got killed after he learned Karen and Ben went to talk to Fisk's mother and confronted her.
    • That Elektra is in alliance with Stick is more noticeable if you notice that one of the first things Elektra says - that Matt's German beer "tastes like piss" - was one of the first things Stick says in his first appearance.
    • A careful viewer will realize Fisk is pretending not to understand Japanese or Chinese long before Madame Gao calls him on it: when Nobu speaks angrily to him in Japanese early in "Shadows in the Glass," Fisk's facial expression darkens before Wesley even starts translating. And Wesley's remark once Nobu leaves ("Did you get that last part?") is him asking if Fisk got everything Nobu was saying without Wesley watering it down.
    • During "Dogs to a Gunfight," when Karen visits Matt to check in on him as he's recuperating from getting shot by the Punisher, she says "Okay, um, let's say this: when or if you ever feel like you can tell me what's going on with you, I promise that I'm here. Is that a deal?" to which Matt replies, "That is a deal." In the last scene of the season 2 finale, we see that despite everything that's gone on, Matt holds up the end of that deal by revealing his secret identity to her, and Karen holds up her end by agreeing to meet with him despite her reservations about Matt.
    • In the newspaper that Foggy reads in "Kinbaku" about Frank Castle's arrest, there's an article to the side that reads "New Theories Shed Light on Lost City", possibly referring to K'un L'un.
    • Though it's only visible in production stills (and impossible to see in the actual show due to bad camera angles), the chemical truck that hit Matt and was responsible for giving him his superpowers was owned by Rand Enterprises.
    • The blueprints that Nobu and his men are looking over in the first episode of season 1 are for Midland Circle Financial.
    • Atreus Plastics, the company whose logo is on one of the trucks that make up part of Fisk's attempted escape in the season 1 finale, will be playing a big role in Luke Cage season 2.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • If Karen's boss at Union Allied hadn't accidentally copied her into the email of that pension file by accident, or if Elena Cardenas had gone to any other law firm to complain about her landlord, then it's possible that Wilson Fisk's plans would have succeeded without Matt or anyone else connecting enough of the dots.
    • If, after escaping the Punisher's bloodbath, Grotto hadn't stumbled into Josie's while the Nelson & Murdock trio were there playing pool, the firm wouldn't collapse under the strain of Matt trying to balance out defending Frank Castle and helping Elektra.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul:
    • James Wesley, the textbook definition of a sociopath, uses his glasses and flat expressions that greatly unnerve many of those around him.
    • Leland Owlsley wears thick glasses that mask the eyes of a well-dressed white-collar crook.
    • Stewart Finney, a crooked accountant that Fisk meets in jail in season 2, is a downplayed variant. He's soft-spoken, but not a sociopath. More like a criminal who just happened to get into some bad luck.
  • Friendly Enemy: Sgt. Brett Mahoney (a cop) and Foggy Nelson (a defense attorney).
    Sgt. Brett Mahoney: Officer of the law. Defense attorney. We're supposed to be enemies.
    Foggy Nelson: First off, we've been enemies since we were four, Brett. So let's not blame it on career choices. Secondly, I'm not a particularly good defense attorney! So helping me is like helping yourself! And finally, [hands Brett a paper bag of cigars] these are for Bess.
  • Friend on the Force: Sgt. Brett Mahoney, who tips Matt and Foggy off on potential cases and is one of the few non-corrupt cops on the force, to the point that when Matt and Foggy need to have someone to turn Hoffman over to, Brett is the one they send him to. He also let Matt go after his fight with Fisk. In season 2, Brett becomes a reluctant ally to Matt-as-Daredevil.
  • "Friends" Rent Control:
    • Justified twice in the first episode. Real estate within Hell's Kitchen is drastically cheaper due to the destruction resulting from The Incident. The realtor tells Matt and Foggy that prices will skyrocket due to the gentrification that occurs during repairs (bringing the area closer to the real-life situation of Hell's Kitchen).
    • Matt Murdock gets his large apartment much cheaper not only because of the above, but because there's an incredibly bright and gaudy electronic billboard right across the street. Pretty undesirable for anyone other than a blind tenant. Being blind, he doesn't use the lights that often, meaning he also pays a much lower electric bill. He also doesn't pay for a cable bill since he doesn't own a TV or make heavy use of the Internet. And as a disabled person, Matt qualifies for a number of special tax breaks. Lampshaded in The Defenders, when Jessica Jones asks him how a pro bono lawyer manages to pay for his place.
    • Averted with the Nelson & Murdock office space. Yes, Foggy and Matt managed to lease the space at a cheaper rate only because the Incident drove down property values, but by season 2, they're struggling to pay the bills because they can't get clients who can afford to pay them in anything more than peach cobbler, plus Reyes driving clients away and the strain of Matt's double-life as Daredevil.
    • Another aversion: while never talked about onscreen, Karen moved apartments between seasons 1 and 2. In season 1, her apartment seems pretty large, with a distinct bedroom. In season 2, she's living in an apartment that is clearly just one open space, with the kitchen open to the living room and bedroom, and while still very large for an apartment in New York City, it is not AS large as the season 1 apartment. It's heavily been hinted that Karen had to take a significant pay cut to go from working at Union Allied to working as a legal assistant at a struggling, fledgling law firm that takes its payments in fruit and pie, not to mention that the Union Allied hush money eventually ran out. By the time of The Punisher, she's clearly moved again, possibly because she has bad memories of the season 2 apartment (given she was shot at and later kidnapped from it), and can also afford a nicer place due to the Bulletin paying better. Her Punisher apartment also takes a lot of design cues from Matt's apartment, showing how attached she still is to him even after his "death".
  • Full-Circle Revolution: Nelson & Murdock's successful takedown of Wilson Fisk at the end of season 1 leaves a vacuum for several new syndicates like the Kitchen Irish, Dogs of Hell, and at least one faction of the Hand, to move into Hell's Kitchen. All of these are wiped out over the course of season 2 and The Defenders by a combination of Matt and Elektra's work against the Hand, and Frank Castle's crusade to avenge those who killed his family, leaving a new opening for Fisk to rebuild his criminal empire with minimal obstruction when he gets released at the start of season 3.

     G-J 
  • Gentle Giant. Mostly averted. Wilson Fisk is a really big guy, yet it's played straight in that he's incredibly gentle and loving towards Vanessa, his girlfriend. At the same time, he also gives brutal beatdowns to others who've pissed him off, most notably Anatoly.
  • Gilligan Cut: At the beginning of "Rabbit in a Snowstorm," John Healy pulls a gun on a guy at a bowling alley and is about to fire. As he pulls the trigger, the show cuts back in time to 36 hours, when he's buying the weapon from Turk. Healy looks at the gun and says that he'd prefer a revolver as they don't jam.
    Turk Barrett: Man, look at this! [racks the slide] This is top of the line. I guarantee, this baby will not jam, or my name ain't Turk Barrett.
    [Cuts to Healy pulling the trigger in the bowling alley, and it jams on him. He has enough time to think "Oh, fuck!" before engaging his target in fisticuffs]
  • Godzilla Threshold: Matt admits that his personal code is failing in locating the Blacksmith, deciding to put his morals aside and kill him; Frank manages to talk him out of it.
  • Good Feels Good: Despite embracing her lifestyle as an Amoral Attorney, Marci Stahl helps Foggy with his investigation, and can be seen smiling as Parish Landman is being arrested by the FBI for conspiracy charges.
  • Good-Guy Bar: Matt, Karen and Foggy spend a lot of time at Josie's. It's a pretty seedy dive, and Karen expresses her reservations about the place, but Foggy explains that the regulars are all decent people. He and Matt have even helped a few people out with their legal problems, so they're comfortable there. By season 2, we see them play pool after work, and later watch news on Frank Castle's arrest there.
  • Good Shepherd: Father Lantom knows who Matt really is and regularly provides him with moral guidance in an attempt to keep him both alive and on the right side.
  • Gorn:
    • "Rabbit In A Snowstorm" opens with Prohaska getting his arm gruesomely broken by Healy with the bone sticking out, and then having his head smashed in with a bowling ball.
    • "In The Blood", Fisk kills Anatoly by beating him unconscious, then bashing his head in with a car door, so much so that his brain is seen falling onto the ground beforehand. All for interrupting Fisk's date with Vanessa. In the next episode ("World on Fire"), we're treated to several shots of the headless body as Vladimir cleans it. When Fisk meets with Madame Gao, Nobu and Leland in an underground garage, Fisk's mechanics are shown washing blood from the door well with a fire hose.
    • The opening flashback in "In The Blood" has Vladimir pulling out a deceased prisoner's ribs in a Siberian gulag to use as an Improvised Weapon, in all its gory detail.
    • "Stick" begins with Stick slicing off a Yakuza associate's gun hand, and a quick shot of the stump (with the bone sticking out, no less), before decapitating him.
    • "Speak of the Devil" has Matt, already sliced open half a dozen times by Nobu, stabbed by his chained weapon, and then dragged across the room, leaving a big trail of blood.
    • Season 2 has plenty, thanks to The Punisher. Of special note is "Seven Minutes In Heaven" where Frank Castle kills his way through Dutton's cell block using a combination of shivs, pipes, his bare hands, and a hatchet, and ".380" where after defeating two of the Blacksmith's thugs in the diner (one by stabbing multiple times with a butcher knife), he shoots one in the head and then bashes one's face into a bloody pulp an attempt to get him to talk.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • Wilson Fisk smashing off Anatoly's head with a car door is partially obscured by the car chassis proper.
    • Despite hardly any gore implied, they also avoid showing the effect of Matt dropping a fire extinguisher Patrick Bateman-style and nailing a fake cop on the way out in the second episode.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Although the language is harder than network television, with "shit" used without restraint, there is occasional use of "freakin'" and even "motherfreakin'" instead of the F-bomb. The one exception is a muffled "What the fuck!" that is visible in the subtitles.
  • Gratuitous Ninja: The Hand, including their local leader Nobu, are all ninja who fight with ancient weapons in the modern age.
  • Greasy Spoon:
    • The Square Diner, an actual establishment in Tribeca, is used in "In the Blood" for several meetings between Ben Urich and Karen, and in season 2 is where Matt rips into Elektra for invading his life.
    • In Fagan Corners, Karen's mom Penelope owns a diner known as Penny's Place.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Wilson Fisk is the biggest name in Hell's Kitchen, but outside, there are bigger and more dangerous ones.
    • The Hand, Nobu's employers. Only one of their agents is seen in season one and the name of the organization isn't even mentioned, but their presence can be felt everywhere, as if they're always lurking just off-screen.
    • Madame Gao counts as well. She's the only crime boss Fisk answers to, since her heroin is the backbone of his criminal activities. She later implies that she isn't entirely of this world and is part of something much bigger than mere drug trade. Iron Fist reveals that she is also part of the Hand, and The Defenders reveals that Madame Gao is a subordinate to Alexandra.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Taken to its natural extreme with Season 2 revolving around the arrival of The Punisher. It goes so far as to recreate an infamous comic storylinenote  between the two called "The Choice" which was all about their clashing morality. While both sides bring up valid points, Matt is clearly presented as A Lighter Shade of Grey.
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow:
    • Wilson Fisk had a full head of hair as a child.
    • While Foggy is clean-shaven in the present day, he had a scraggy goatee when he and Matt were in college and looked like a bit of a hippie.
    • In an inversion, flashbacks to Matt and Foggy's time in college in season 1, and Matt's initial relationship with Elektra in season 2, show that Matt didn't have his Perma-Stubble then.
  • Hallway Fight:
    • In "Cut Man", Matt Murdock fights his way through a hallway full of Russian mobsters, which was The Oner, as well as an homage to Oldboy.
    • In "New York's Finest", after freeing himself from Frank Castle, Matt fights off Dogs of Hell bikers in the hallway of an apartment building, which eventually leads to a stairwell fight. This is an homage to The Raid.
    • In "Seven Minutes in Heaven", Wilson Fisk tricks Frank Castle into entering Dutton's cellblock. After Frank mortally wounds Dutton, Fisk locks him in, and releases all the prisoners who are quick to get revenge on him for killing their boss. He ends up having to go down a corridor, stabbing his way out with a shiv.
  • Handicapped Badass:
    • Matt is blind, but he doesn't let that stop him from fighting crime. Nor his intelligence, as he graduated summa cum laude from Columbia Law School.
    • Stick is also a blind badass and he taught Matt how to be a blind badass.
    • Madame Gao walks with a cane (that, as Iron Fist reveals, conceals a sword) but, as a leader of the Hand, also sports Super Strength and knocks Matt down in one blow.
  • Happy Ending Override: Season 2 gradually undoes Matt, Karen and Foggy's triumphant takedown of Fisk in season 1, showing Fisk just rebuilding his empire from prison. By season 3, he's out and seeking revenge.
  • Hates My Secret Identity: Inverted. Foggy is best friends with Matt, but has great distaste for Daredevil. This is especially so when Matt's moonlighting affects their handling of the Frank Castle trial.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: How Karen is able to avoid getting killed after she manipulates Ben Urich into going with her to interview Wilson Fisk's mother.
    • First, Wesley kidnaps Karen, takes her to an abandoned warehouse, and tries to blackmail her into backing down. She asks him if he's told Fisk about her involvement in visiting Fisk's mother. Wesley says he hasn't. Then Wesley's phone rings, as Fisk is trying to call him from the hospital. Having been victimized by Fisk one time too many, Karen grabs the gun Wesley had placed on the table and shoots him to death, guaranteeing that this doesn't happen.
    • In the next episode, Fisk learns about Karen and Urich's visit from his mole at the Bulletin. Fisk breaks in to Urich's apartment, and asks Urich if there was anyone else there when he talked to Fisk's mother. Urich, knowing full well that Fisk has come to kill him, and will probably go after Karen if he mentions her, lies and says he was alone. Fisk then gets up, wrestles Urich to the floor, and chokes him to death with his bare hands. As a result, Karen is still alive, aware of Fisk's childhood actions, and forced to live with the guilt of having gotten Urich killed.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: Thematically appropriate given Matt's super-hearing.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Elektra. To whit: she only got close to Matt in college to try and lure him back to Stick, then after she comes back into Matt's life tells Stick to take a hike so she can be with Matt, who then rejects her when she kills a Hand assassin in cold blood. Then Stick tries to have her killed, so she tries to kill him, then the Hand reveal that Elektra is Black Sky, and offer to serve her. Then, Matt convinces Elektra to go back to his side through The Power of Love. Finally, Elektra is killed, but her body taken by The Hand in preparation for resurrecting her as a ruthless assassin of Alexandra's.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Vladimir switches sides once he realizes that Matt wasn't responsible for his brother's death, although he tries to attack him once more anyway for "fun" before giving a Heroic Sacrifice to ensure he escapes from an ESU assault.
    • Marci rediscovers some of her old idealism when presented with solid evidence of Fisk's crimes, and helps take him down even though she's also burning most of her law firm in the process. She earns a job at Hogarth Chao & Benowitz in the process.
  • Heel Realisation: Fisk, when forced to choose between accepting legal punishment for his crimes or killing his way to safety, finally accepts that he's better at hurting people than helping them.
    Fisk: I used to think I was the Good Samaritan in that story... I am not the Samaritan. And I am not the priest, or the Levite. I am the ill intent, who set upon the traveler...
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Zigzagged. Matt usually wears his mask or helmet while out on heroics and the latter sometimes saves his life, but particularly in season 2, and during interactions with Elektra, he tends to take it off for no real good reason, other than "so that the viewer can better see Matt's face while he's talking." Elektra doesn't use an actual helmet, but does something similar with the scarf she wears on her face to protect her neck.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • In "Condemned", Vladimir holds a corrupt ESU team off so Matt can escape through the drainage tunnels underneath the abandoned building.
    • In "A Cold Day In Hell's Kitchen" Elektra throws herself in front of Nobu just as he's about to kill Matt, taking a fatal stab wound.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Fisk uses the media against Matt when he tries to pin the destruction of all of the Russian mob hideouts on 'the Man in the Mask'. Matt's vigilante identity is even referred to as a terrorist.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Nobu, a major antagonist in the first season who was accidentally killed by Daredevil, is resurrected in season 2 and returns as the main antagonist, once again leading The Hand's operations in New York City. The Defenders then reveals he's just a subordinate to Murakami.
  • Hollywood Healing:
    • In "Cut Man," Claire gives Matt a needle chest decompression for the pneumothorax his three broken ribs gave him. He gets on pretty well with beating people up afterwards - in reality, he would need more hospital treatment before he could go back to bruising baddies.
    • After the beatdowns from Fisk and Nobu, Matt definitely would need a lot of surgery and blood transfusions for all his wounds instead of stitches and magic meditation. His meditation must be that magical. In reality, Matt would be recovering in a hospital rather than at his apartment.
    • Frank Castle averts it in season 2. The injuries to his face sustained in prison are substantial enough that people don't recognize him in public. That said, he plays it straight: he gets drilled through his foot when Finn tortures him, and does spend time in the hospital, but even though the trial takes place less than two weeks after the torture scene, Frank never is shown wearing a cast on his injured foot or having a limp. It's further established in his own show that Frank just is that formidable at enduring injuries, though also averted as Frank also sports scars from injuries here in Daredevil.
  • Hollywood Law:
    • Brett Mahoney ostensibly gets a promotion midway through season 2 for capturing Frank Castle, ostensibly going from "Sergeant" to "Detective sergeant," and transitioning from a uniform to plainclothes suit-and-tie. In the NYPD, that's not a promotion, but a lateral transfer - Brett's rank actually is still Sergeant, but he's now the supervisor to a squad of detectives in the Detective Bureau rather than a group of ten to twelve uniformed cops in the Patrol Bureau. This does slightly line up with the comics, where Brett is a Detective instead of a patrol officer. Also, the rank title isn't "Detective sergeant," but "Sergeant - Supervisor Detective Squad".
    • The trial of Fisk's assassin John Healy seems to happen within a week of the original crime, given that Ben Urich's subway line piece, discussed early in the episode when Healy has just been arrested, is visible in the issue of the Bulletin on his desk when Karen visits his office at the close of the trial. Murder cases, if not plea bargained, are seldom heard in less than a year after the event. However, it is clear that Fisk had bribed and/or intimidated a number of the jurors, and it is also heavily implied that he may have also bribed the district attorney and prosecutors to fast-track Healy's trial. Why neither Matt or Foggy thought the unusually fast turnaround time was suspicious is another question.
    • A justified example: in "World on Fire," Detectives Christian Blake and Carl Hoffman, two corrupt cops working for Fisk, shoot and kill a Russian thug in a precinct interrogation room for speaking Fisk's name. If it weren't for the fact that Fisk has the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau in his pocket, Blake and Hoffman would have been placed on modified assignment and administrative leave while an investigation was conducted into their actions. Because of Fisk's connections, Blake and Hoffman remain on active-duty, allowing them to participate with the other corrupt cops to kill the survivors of Fisk's bombings of the Russians' hideouts. It's lampshaded by Ben Urich when he sees Blake and Hoffman assuming command of the scene where Matt has holed up with Vladimir and a police officer who stumbled upon them, and comments "Detectives! I'd thought IAB would have you riding a desk after that thing with the Russians at the station", to which Blake says "You see what's going on here? No one's riding a desk tonight."
    • On a sidenote, Blake and Hoffman giving orders at the standoff. NYPD Detectives are at the same level in the chain of command as regular Patrol Officers, and technically can't give orders to anyone but junior detectives. Only those in the supervisory ranks (Sergeant and upward) can give orders to other cops. Then again, they and many of the other cops in their precinct are on Fisk's payroll, so they probably know that they're breaking protocol.
    • In season 1, Marci Stahl could have faced disbarment for handing over confidential work product. However, lawyers have an obligation not to participate in crimes and to tell the police if they have reason to believe their client will commit a crime. Landman & Zack has failed in both obligations (by not reporting that they are doing legal business for Wilson Fisk and not reporting his crimes to the cops), and it's her responsibility, legally, ethically, and professionally, to hand over all the information she can to the proper authorities. That she handed that information over to the lawyers on the opposing counsel (one of whom she used to have a romantic relationship with) is very questionable, but the New York Bar Association probably gave her a free pass given how extensive Fisk's corruption of the legal system went.
    • Fisk is incarcerated at Riker's Island in season 2. However, that is a state correctional facility. In real life, Fisk would probably be housed in a federal penitentiary, maybe even on death row, especially given that many of Fisk's crimes in season 1 were federal offenses, such as the bombings of the Russiansnote ; racketeering and money laundering (which fall under RICO statutes), and capital Felony Murder charges (for each of the FBI agents killed by Fisk's mercenaries during their ambush on the convoy).
    • Because the NYPD does not allow real-life precinct numbers to be used in works of fiction, the police station shown in this show and Jessica Jones is designated as the '15th precinct'. Hell's Kitchen is actually serviced by the Midtown North precinct.
    • The botched sting using Grotto as bait for the Punisher. Reyes appears to give orders to the ESU to shoot to kill when they open fire on the Punisher, while the Punisher is busy fighting with Matt. The goal of the ambush is to kill Frank Castle, not arrest him. This is a blatantly illegal attempted extrajudicial killing. The circumstances under which the police are allowed to use lethal force do not include “because he did some bad stuff before.” While defense of others (Grotto) could be used as a justification, the police opened fire before that was established. Furthermore, the operation was overseen by Reyes. In real life, the police department and the prosecution are separate entities, explicitly for this reason.
      • In real life, Reyes would be lucky if she just got disbarred for this. Using a man as bait for a killer is illegal, as is misleading said guy's defense attorneys. Nelson & Murdock arguably would have a case to file a wrongful death suit against Reyes and probably would have prevailed, and that probably would've gone down if, well, Frank's trial didn't come in the way.
    • The People of the State of New York v. Frank Castle is an exercise in this trope:
      • After Frank is arrested, Matt, Karen and Foggy discuss the case with Frank's public defender (who is taking Karen's statement on the hospital shooting), who considers the case open and shut: Frank will plead guilty and be sentenced to death for murders he committed in Delaware, which has the death penalty. In real life, in Delaware, and every other state that has the death penalty, the decision to impose the death penalty must be determined by a separate hearing. And that hearing normally includes a jury, even if the defendant pleads guilty. It is possible for both the State and the defendant to waive a hearing before a jury, but even then there will be a hearing before the judge. The defendant can’t plead straight to the death penalty.
      • When Nelson & Murdock first attempt to approach Frank at the hospital, Reyes attempts to intervene, arguing that speaking to Frank without his attorney present would be a violation of ethical rules. This is simply not true. Ironically, it would be an ethical violation for Reyes to do the same thing because she represents an opposing party (i.e. the People), per N.Y. Rule 4.2(a). And indeed, Matt correctly tells her as much. At the same time, Reyes fails to note that Matt and Foggy's conversation with Frank might be an ethical breach for a different reason, namely that it’s an inappropriate in-person solicitation under Rule 7.3(a)(1).
      • While negotiating over a plea deal with the District Attorney for Frank Castle, Foggy mentions that one thing Reyes didn't go for is having him in protective custody. However, it's the New York Department of Corrections who determine which prisoners get put in protective custody. Castle is suspected to have killed a bunch of gangsters from three different gangs, so he would almost certainly be placed in protective custody, since these gangs undoubtedly have incarcerated associates who would be itching to kill him in revenge for murdering their comrades.
      • The DA argues that Nelson & Murdock can’t represent Frank because it would be a conflict of interest given their representation of Grotto. This is very wrong for several reasons. For one, Grotto isn’t a current client, since a) he summarily fired the firm in no uncertain terms, and b) he is dead. This still makes Grotto a former client, which could cause conflicts under Rule 1.9, but those can be avoided in this case. The main concerns are 1.9(a)note  and 1.9(c)note . Representing Frank would not require doing anything materially adverse to Grotto’s interests, especially given that he is dead and had no family or estate (remember that Matt, Karen and Foggy were the only attendees at his funeral). Neither would it require disclosing anything that Grotto told the firm in confidence. So Nelson & Murdock are clear to take Frank’s case.
      • Nelson & Murdock are literally given one week of prep time before the trial. In real life, following the arraignment (i.e. when Frank pleaded "not guilty") and assuming Frank waived grand jury proceedings, a complex trial like this would be preceded by several weeks or even months of depositions, motions, and hearings, mostly to establish what kind of evidence could be presented to the jury. This is especially in important in cases like this one that rely heavily on expert testimony. Corrupt or not, Reyes wouldn’t want to rush this, either. And even if they did, it would be extremely unusual (and likely appealable) for the judge not to grant the defense an extension of time before the trial started. note  From a narrative standpoint, this shortened prep time is somewhat justified, due to the necessity to keep the trial on pace with the Elektra storyline. On the other hand, it does help explain in part why Nelson & Murdock’s defense of Frank Castle was essentially malpractice-level awful.
      • "Fast tracking" in most states means means getting it to trial in fewer than 12 months, not a week. It involves a shit ton of discovery (basically searching and sifting through all sorts of potential evidence, along with answering questions, producing documents, and depositions). That takes MONTHS if not over a year to go through.
      • At the start of the trial, the judge remarks about the difficulty of selecting jurors, because "everyone has an opinion" about the Punisher. Such a situation should have been handled with a change of venue, the process of moving a jury trial away from a location where a fair and impartial jury may not be possible due to widespread publicity about a crime and its defendant(s) to another community in order to obtain jurors who can be more objective in their duties. This change may be to different towns, and across the other sides of states or, in some extremely high-profile federal cases, to other states.
      • The seal behind the judge implies that the trial is in federal court. If it were in federal court, the prosecution would not be done by the District Attorney but by the United States Attorney. The seal also identifies this court as the "United States District Court for the District of New York City." There is no such court, the correct district in Manhattan would be the "Southern District of New York."
      • There's a long, dramatic sequence where Frank is brought into the courtroom in chains and a prison jumpsuit, which would never be done in real life because it could bias the jury. The Supreme Court has ruled that the State isn't allowed to make a defendant wear that in court. A prisoner may choose to appear that way, if for some reason they want to bias the jury or just don't know what they're doing. But preventing a defendant from appearing in the dehumanizing garb of a prisoner is so crucial that public defenders often hold clothing drives to make sure their clients can dress up.
      • More egregious is that what is shown of the trial on-camera isn't even about the crimes that Frank had committed. Everyone acts as if what had happened to Frank’s family is far more relevant to the current case than it should have been. Having a trial about what kind of man he was when his character wasn’t on trial was just weird. His sanity maybe, but the evidence against him was staggering.
      • When Frank takes the stand, spectators in the gallery are holding signs decrying him as a vicious murderer who should be burned at the stake. Such signs should not even be allowed in the courthouse, never mind an actual courtroom. At another point, a person in the gallery begins shouting that Castle killed his father. The judge orders the person removed, but Nelson & Murdock should have seized the opportunity to request a declaration of a mistrial. Even if they didn’t get it, it would be yet another issue they could appeal if the trial went badly (which it does).
      • Matt and Foggy's defense of Frank centers around Extreme Emotional Disturbance, hoping that if they prevail they can get him the help he needs rather than sending him to prison. Per the New York State penal code, an EED defense merely mitigates a Second or First Degree Murder charge to First Degree Manslaughter, which would still mean Frank would go to prison rather than a mental hospital. Although manslaughter carries a shorter sentence than murder, the fact Frank is being charged with 37 counts of it would presumably keep him away for a long time especially if served consecutively - which may almost be the equivalent of a life sentence (not to mention the fact that Matt and Foggy wanted to keep him out of prison due to the fact that he'd be a walking target for other inmates).
      • A key part of Nelson & Murdock’s defense strategy was convincing Dr. Gregory Tepper, the medical examiner, to come clean about being asked to falsify the records of the deaths of Frank's family. Initially hesitant, the medical examiner decides to change his story on the stand and tell the truth. The judge clears the courtroom (although in reality she almost certainly wouldn’t just because a witness was testifying unexpectedly), and the medical examiner spills the beans and explains that he was forced to confess because Elektra had threatened him the night before. The judge strikes Tepper’s testimony…and Matt and Foggy do nothing but have a fight in the courthouse bathroom, rather than appeal the judge's motion. This is a concept in civil and criminal procedure known as “preserving an issue for appeal.”note  Doing nothing, not even giving a verbal objection, about an issue this important, which could have affected the outcome of the trial, is a colossal screwup.
      • There is the issue of whether Tepper altering the medical records is relevant to the case at hand. In federal courts and many states like New York, a witness’ veracity for truthfulness is relevant. Even if Elektra hadn't threatened him, Dr. Tepper's altering medical records would discredit his testimony, which could be introduced on cross-examination. Confronting Dr. Tepper with evidence of falsifying medical records would be potentially devastating and extremely relevant to Frank’s case. However, as the medical records would have been collateral, the Judge would have limited questioning to avoid confusing the jury with facts not material to Frank’s case.
      • Expert witnesses, such as the doctor who testified regarding Frank’s brain injuries, are allowed to give their expert opinion regarding facts (e.g. Frank suffered a brain injury that affects his judgement) but not legal conclusions (e.g “any infractions would be considered crimes of passion”). Drawing a legal conclusion from the facts (e.g. whether Frank was legally insane) is the job of the judge or jury, not the witness. Also, "crimes of passion” really only applies to converting murder to manslaughter, which is still a serious crime, and murder is not the only crime that Frank Castle has committed onscreen (false imprisonment, torture, etc).
      • It is generally a bad idea for criminal defendants to testify in their own case. It opens the door to uncomfortable questions from the prosecution, and there is rarely much the defendant can say that will help rather than hurt their case. This is true in Frank’s case, yet Nelson & Murdock have Karen talk Frank into testifying. This is arguably a breach of ethics, because although Matt and Foggy treat Karen as if she is a partner with equal weight in decision-making, she is a secretary, not a lawyer. Per NY Rule 1.2(a), the decision of whether to testify in one’s case is, ultimately, the client’s decision, not the attorney’s. And not only do the rules specifically contemplate that the client will consult with the lawyer, but it’s implicit that this consultation is a core part of advising (though not deciding for) a client in a criminal case. Thus, what Karen did likely constitutes unauthorized practice of law. And it's a breach of ethics for Matt and Foggy to have someone else doing their dirty work.
      • Not only that, as Frank was so opposed to the PTSD defense, they should have had him removed from the court so he couldn’t talk even if he WANTED to. Lawyers are not allowed to let their clients sabotage their own cases; that’s just super bad lawyering. There also may be an issue of perjury going on, since Matt, Foggy and Karen know their client is guilty of crimes, but has pleaded not guilty.
      • Matt’s disastrous examination of Frank is worth pointing out. After a few questions, Matt asks the judge for permission to treat Frank as hostile, then launches into a long, rambling expository speech. In real life, permission to treat a witness as hostile means "treat the witness as though he or she had been called by the opposing party." This doesn’t change much. Mainly it means that Matt can now ask Frank leading questions (i.e. questions that suggest a particular answer is desired). It definitely does not mean Matt can ask “questions” that are long speeches better suited for a closing statement. The only thing that saves Matt is Reyes failing to object to just about every sentence he utters...
      • ...and Reyes' only objections are to Matt's cross-examination questions, citing them as “leading.” When the entire point of cross-examination is to ask leading questions to control the witness, which is allowed. It is equally wrong to object to cross-examination as argumentative, because cross-examination by its very nature is supposed to be argumentative to discredit the witness.
      • Somehow, Nelson & Murdock are able to get Colonel Schoonover as a character witness and not have his deposition. Reyes gets tripped up and embarrassed by the "actually I WAS there" trap. This doesn't happen in real life because there's a pretrial deposition of any and all witnesses so that neither defense nor prosecution are just playing a guessing game. It doesn't matter if Schoonover's name was redacted on classified mission reports. Deposition questions from Reyes would be like "what's the nature of your relationship to Castle?" "Why do you endorse his character?" "Were you there to personally witness the mission?" Etc etc. This is simple stuff that non-attorneys should think, "there's no way that this happens in real life." You can't just plop a witness on the stand who hasn't been deposed (btw you declare your witnesses long before the trial so that on top of depositions you can do background checks and fact checks if possible).
      • Matt and Karen going over strategy for the medical examiner. "Who doctored those certificates? And if he says 'no one' then we already got him admitting they were doctored!" Uh, Matt, Karen, that's gonna be shouted down by Reyes as "Objection. Assumes facts not entered into evidence," as in assuming the "fact" that the certificates were doctored at all. You have to lead to it, i.e. Establish and enter it as evidence by asking all sorts of boring questions leading to "were the reports in any way doctored?" You don't get to say "so, who doctored them?" That's assuming something not yet in evidence. It's like asking a murder suspect "so, when you killed the victim, did you do it with a candlestick or a bat?"
      • Sentencing for Frank after he got himself convicted would take several weeks of more hearings, although one could assume Fisk was pulling strings to get Frank to him before the sentencing could send him to another prison.
      • There are an insane number of conflicts of interest on hand for Nelson & Murdock:
      • 1) Karen was among those caught in the crossfire when Frank was shooting at Grotto in the hospital.
      • 2) As well as Foggy and Karen having been present for the attempted police ambush.
      • 3) Frank asks Foggy to leave the room so he can speak with Karen alone. While Karen works at a law firm, and Matt and Foggy do treat her as if she's a partner with equal footing in decisions, she is a secretary / office manager, not a lawyer. She doesn't have a law degree. Without a lawyer present, anything Frank says to Karen might not protected by attorney/client privilege, and she could be subpoenaed to testify under oath about what he said to her. In fact, her one-on-one conversations with Frank without Matt or Foggy being present may constitute Unauthorized Practice of Law. So unless Karen is a certified paralegal, it's unlikely she would be permitted to take statements as she did with Frank both at the hospital and in jail on her own, and it's very unlikely that she would be able to sit at the defense bench in a criminal trial.
      • 4) Matt personally witnessed Frank kill Grotto. So he knows the guy is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
      • 5) Frank was caught because Matt performed a citizen's arrest of him while in costume as Daredevil.
    • Several episodes feature police cars with forward-facing blue and red lights. New York state law prohibits forward-facing blue lights on police vehicles.
    • It's very unlikely in real life that a white-collar criminal like Stewart Finney would end up in the same prison as violent murderers like Wilson Fisk. Finney, however, explains when he introduces himself to Fisk that he got caught because he double-crossed the brother of a very influential Justice Department official, so it's possible the official in question pulled strings.
    • At the beginning of the season 2 premiere, we see Matt and Foggy arrive at the office and Karen fills them in on the clients in their waiting room. While the scene is funny and is meant to convey the eccentricity of Nelson & Murdock's clientele, Karen is publicly disclosing each individual’s legal problem in earshot of the other clients, potentially a violation of a New York attorney’s duty of confidentiality to a prospective client.
    • As this and this demonstrate, almost everything about the way the series presents the law is not just wrong, but wildly wrong.
  • Hollywood Tactics: In the first season finale, the mercenaries rescuing Fisk are standing out in the open, unloading at the FBI agents while slowly advancing in a line. Despite this, the FBI agents get mowed down without giving the mercenaries much trouble. There's at least an attempt at realism, where one or two of the mercenaries do get hit and go down, but considering that they are exposed, and the FBI agents are mostly behind cover of some kind, means this should not have gone as easily for them as it did.
  • Honor Before Reason: Ben Urich not taking the editor job despite the pay raise which would allow him to better take care of his wife because he wants to continue chasing stories with more value than puff pieces. He gets killed after he decides to start a blog and post his article about Fisk on the internet.
  • Hospitality for Heroes: Played for laughs when Foggy takes Karen to Josie's. He says that since he and Matt helped the owner with legal trouble, they drink for free. Then Josie herself comes by, as if on cue, and says they absolutely do not get to drink for free. However, Season 2 reveals that she allows them to rack up a gigantic tab with little indication that she expects them to pay it off. When Foggy closes it out and implies that he won't be coming back for a while, she seems disappointed. She's still warm and friendly when Matt and Foggy come by Josie's for drinks in The Defenders.
  • Hypocrisy Nod: Matt acknowledges the hypocrisy of being a lawyer dedicated to the law who is also a vigilante.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In episode 5, Fisk tells the other crime lords that he killed Anatoly. He explains that they'll make Anatoly's brother Vladimir think the Devil of Hell's Kitchen was responsible, at least, until they are ready to make a move against him, saying "We all knew that we would need to eliminate the Russians one day. They were too unpredictable." This, as Leland points out, comes from a man who just decapitated Anatoly with a car door because the guy interrupted his date with Vanessa.
  • Hypocrite:
    • A lot of attention is called to the fact that Matt enforces the law as a lawyer, while simultaneously breaking it with reckless abandon by acting as a superhero. Similarly, he and his priest struggle with the fact that he's a Catholic who may have to actively kill a man.
    • Even Foggy can sometimes get this. Yeah, in "Nelson v. Murdock" he's right to call Matt out for being Daredevil, but Foggy is guilty of doing the same thing (going out and putting a stop to crime) to a lesser extent, if his using a softball bat in "Stick" on a pair of thugs trying to jump Karen are any indication.
    • While Karen is one to call Matt and Foggy out for holding secrets, she's seemingly ignoring the fact that she's kept secret from them the fact that she killed James Wesley, as well as the secret past of hers regarding her brother.
    • Leland Owlsley calls Fisk out on his relationship with Vanessa, thinking that she's distracting him from getting on with his criminal ventures. Fisk points out that Leland has a son, which means at some point he met a woman and fell in love.
  • I Am the Noun:
    • "I am the ill intent, who set upon the traveler on a road that he should not have been on..."
    • Season 2 also has this with Frank embracing the Punisher name as he starts raving at his trial.
  • If We Get Through This...: The season 2 finale has Matt declaring his love for Elektra and her talking about traveling abroad, right before they face off against Nobu. She dies protecting Matt from Nobu.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: In season 3, some of the protesters who are condemning Fisk's release hold signs with slogans like "Stop and Fisk Him".
  • Informed Attractiveness: Lots of people talk about how handsome Matt is. It's even one of the first things Foggy says to him.
  • Informed Attribute: Foggy rarely hesitates to mention how Matt is a consummate lady's man with tons of short-term relationships, but we rarely see Matt so much as hit on anyone outside of Karen. The characterization goes toward the theme that Matt keeps most people at arm's length due to the advice of Stick, and he allows Foggy to assume that his nights are spent in the company of dates rather than out beating the shit out of strangers. Season 2 further complicates this characterization when it's revealed that Matt was in a long-term relationship with Elektra during college, and Foggy recalls how miserable Matt was after the relationship ended.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Matt and Karen are the "two people who are obviously in love with each other but afraid to show their feelings (for various reasons)" type of couple. Much of their sexual tension stems from them each feeling the other is too good for them, due to their dark secrets causing them to put on metaphorical masks where they hide their darker side around each other. Even after Matt does come clean to Karen about his secrets, Karen's still insecure during The Defenders about her feelings for Matt not because she knows he cares for her, but because she's now afraid of how he'll react if he ever learns about what she did to Wesley.
  • Insistent Terminology: Wilson Fisk is, and should be only, called James Wesley's "employer." It's so ingrained in Wesley that long after Fisk has become a public figure, he inadvertently makes a slip ("sorry, old habits") while threatening Karen.
  • Instant Sedation: Averted in "Penny and Dime". One of the Kitchen Irish goons manages to stick a syringe in Frank Castle's neck containing a sedative, but with his Marine training and adrenaline, it takes a full minute for him to go completely down during which he gradually grows more unsteady, and he's able to still kill a couple of the Irish. It takes a couple of them firing tasers at him to actually bring him down..
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: In-Universe:
    • Leland Owlsley seems to think that Nobu would speak Chinese, despite his being Japanese. And he still seems confused even when Anatoly points it out to him.
    • Philip Cabroni, the slimy college professor in "Semper Fidelis" that Elektra roughs up to decode a Hand ledger, tells the two Asian prostitutes he hired that he wants to eat moo goo gai pan off their naked bodies. When one of the women tells him they aren't Chinese, he just shrugs it off and says all Asians look alike to him anyway. He teaches Asian Studies at NYU.
  • The Internet Is for Cats: As Ben Urich prepares to launch his war against Wilson Fisk in bloggerspace, Fisk dismisses his efforts since people only use the Internet to look at "pictures of cats."
  • Intrepid Reporter: By the end of season 2, Karen has moved into Ben's old job and office.
  • The Irish Mob: After Wilson Fisk is taken down, the Triads and Yakuza leave. Season 2 starts with the Kitchen Irish and the Dogs of Hell taking Fisk's departure as a prime opportunity for them to move back in. They're attacked by Frank Castle before it can happen. Later the Kitchen Irish regroup and hunt Frank down to get back the money he stole from them after massacring some of their men.
  • Irony: During the rooftop argument between Matt and Frank Castle, Frank says, "You throw 'em in jail, everybody calls you a hero, right? And then a month, a week, a day later, they're back on the streets doing the same goddamn thing!" Fast forward to Frank himself getting into jail after being manipulated by Fisk into throwing his trial. He's out within a few days without even actively trying, and proceeds to do the same things that put him there in the first place.
  • I Want My Belovedto Be Happy: While Fisk is in prison awaiting trial, he makes sure Vanessa is looked after by using the majority of his remaining money to set up a protection fund for her.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: When Wesley takes Karen hostage, Karen is able to take his gun from him and holds him at gunpoint. Wesley quips that he'd never leave a loaded gun sitting within reach of a captive. He's bluffing, as Karen finds out when she pulls the trigger.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Matt uses this on occasion, such as torturing a member of the Russian mob for the location of a kidnapped child.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • For a while, Foggy seems more interested in money than in helping people, but he's immediately uncomfortable with dealing with the mob and Frank Castle, and goes out of his way to help others who are being pushed around by shady people, even outside of work. He even spends an episode working on Elena's plumbing.
    • Marci Stahl, Foggy's ex who works at Landman & Zack, and later Hogarth, Chao & Benowitz. Comes across as a straight Alpha Bitch, but when the chips are down cares about doing what's right. To quote Amy Rutberg, "Marci is always straight and brutally honest with Foggy, more so than Matt or Karen in a way. She has his best interest at heart because she loves him and knows him. She may not always be right about what he needs, but it comes from the right place — protection and love."
  • Jury and Witness Tampering:
    • In "Rabbit in a Snowstorm," Nelson & Murdock gets hired by Fisk (by way of Wesley) to defend John Healy, an assassin of Fisk's that has been arrested for bashing a gangster's head in with a bowling ball, mostly to learn more about his boss. Though he knows his client is guilty as sin, Matt is committed to playing his part in a fair trial, so when he discovers one of the jurors is being coerced by Fisk's men, he forces the thug blackmailing her to tell her to get herself excused. The jury hangs anyway, with strong implications that Fisk just found other jurors to coerce, and more strings are pulled behind the scenes to get Healy off without a retrial. Matt coerces Healy into revealing Fisk is his boss soon after, and he kills himself in fear of Fisk's retaliation.
    • Elektra tampers with the crooked medical examiner before he testifies at Frank Castle's trial, rendering his testimony inadmissible and driving a wedge between Matt and Foggy.
  • Just Train Wrong: A minor one, but in "Rabbit in a Snowstorm," Mitchell Ellison tells Ben Urich to do the subway line piece ("Rumors Bubbling: Will Hell's Kitchen Finally Get a Subway Line?"). He tells Urich to take a poll on what color people in Hell's Kitchen might like, saying "Y'know, we've got a blue line, we've got a yellow line, we're running out of colors." New York City's subway lines are not referred to by colors, but by a letter or number. The line colors, aside from the G train and the shuttles, are based on which trunk line they use in Manhattan.note 

     K-U 
  • Karma Houdini:
    • In the first season, Madame Gao sees the writing on the wall and leaves for her home shortly before Matt finally takes Fisk down. In Season 2, she's running her drugs from Chinatown, and in Iron Fist, she's running her drugs through Rand.
    • Vanessa and some of Fisk's men escape the city before they can be arrested for their roles in Fisk's conspiracy.
  • Kavorka Man: At the start of season 1, Foggy has two sexy women (Karen and Marci) interested in him, despite his doughy physique and being characterized as less attractive than Matt (he is more charming, personable, and friendly though). When Elena talks about the "handsome lawyer," Karen assumes she's talking about Matt. Elena clarifies that she's calling Foggy handsome because he's in love. With Marci, as it ultimately turns out to be.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: Throughout season 1, Matt keeps his second identity as Daredevil a secret from Foggy and Karen. When Foggy learns about it, as the result of finding Matt bleeding out from getting attacked by Wilson Fisk and Nobu, he is pissed off, and while they do reconcile in time to take down Fisk, their friendship is on noticeably thin ice. In season 2, the strain of Matt's double life and the reappearance of Elektra causes him to falter in contributing to the Frank Castle trial and almost costs him the new romantic relationship he was beginning to have with Karen. The realization that he's been driving them away leads Matt to decide to willingly tell Karen his secret, with some hope of reconciling.
  • Kingpin in His Gym: Frank Castle is introduced to the man himself lifting weights in prison.
  • Knife Nut: Rance, the assassin sent after Karen when she's retrieving the Union Allied flashdrive, is particularly fond of the knife, especially given that when Wesley threatens Farnum's daughter to get his cooperation, he explains that Rance's methods are "unpleasant".
  • Koan: Many characters use flowery and/or metaphoric expressions sprinkled in their dialogue. A few, such as Stick and Madame Gao, drop these in every conversation.
  • The Lancer: Foggy and Karen function as confidants to Matt in different ways.
  • Large and in Charge: Wilson Fisk. He isn't quite as big as the Kingpin in the comics since nobody could be that big without critical health issues, but he's still visibly bigger than all of his underlings.
  • Le Parkour: Matt is pretty good at it and puts it to good use when following a car through the city, leaping across rooftops to keep pace.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • The scene in Season 2 where jurors are screened for Frank Castle's trial mirrors a lot of the greatly differing opinions real life comic fans have on the Punisher. Some of the people interviewed say that the Punisher should be applauded because he takes the extra steps cops and other heroes won't, while others say that he's a bully and a violent fascist who shouldn't be idolized.
    • "Penny and Dime" has Matt commenting to Foggy and Karen, "I think that's enough Punisher for one evening," while watching the news of Castle's arrest, which is a nod to the fact that that episode in particular is an ideal stopping point for a binge-watcher and marks the end of the first act for season 2.
  • Left the Background Music On:
    • The first flashback to Wilson Fisk's childhood in "Shadows in the Glass" starts with an establishing shot of kids playing in the street in Hell's Kitchen while "Brown Sugar" by The Rolling Stones plays in the background. The scene then cuts to the Fisk family's apartment, where the song is playing on the radio and Marlene asks Bill to turn the music down.
    • "Date with the Night" plays in the opening of "Regrets Only" as the ninjas race through the streets on their motorcycles, then cuts as they park outside Elektra's penthouse, implying that one of the riders was listening to it.
  • A Lighter Shade of Grey: Matt Murdock compared to Frank Castle. Matt grapples with the fact that he's a law-breaking vigilante in spite of being a lawyer during the day, but he looks like a boy scout in the second season next to Frank, who kills people from the Central Park shootout without any remorse.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Wilson Fisk can move very fast in fights despite his large size.
  • Literal-Minded: Melvin struggles to understand sarcasm. When Elektra meets him for the first time and he gives Matt a new billy club with a grappling hook feature, this exchange happens:
    Elektra Natchios: Where is mine?
    Melvin Potter: It's a prototype, I only made one.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Marci Stahl. When we first meet her in "World on Fire," she makes no secret of being selfish and mostly interested in her own career, but she has moral standards and her open bitchiness can be strangely charming. Karen is incredulous that Foggy used to date her. Marci eventually drops the selfishness act after Foggy persuades her to turn against her colleagues at Landman & Zack and sell them out for aiding Fisk. By season 2, she's been hired on at Hogarth Chao & Benowitz and has become a somewhat nicer person. By the time of The Defenders, she and Foggy have rekindled a very healthy romance. By season 3, she's become a firm ally of the trio when they need to team up again to go after Fisk.
  • Love at First Sight: Karen has a crush on Matt from the get-go. Throughout season 1, she is regularly giving starry-eyed looks at Matt whenever she's around him, and constantly feels the need to bring up Matt whenever she and Foggy are having a good time on their own. Partway through season 2, Karen and Matt begin dating.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: Downplayed. Wilson Fisk has a large private cell and gets rare steak delivered to him... but he's still eating it off a tray while sitting on his uncomfortable-looking prison cot in an orange jumpsuit. Having the guards on puppet strings gets you a lot of perks, but it still ain't the Ritz.
  • The Mafia: The Italian Mafia used to run the organized crime of Hell's Kitchen and are responsible for the death of Matt's father. In the present day, they are in decline and Fisk's organization is taking over their territory. Most of the old mafiosi are either in jail or choose to retire rather than go against Fisk. The last significant Mafia boss in the neighborhood was Rigoletto, who was killed on Fisk's orders and the Russians take over his drug distribution network. New crews move in at the start of season 2 after Fisk is arrested, only to get wiped out by the Punisher.
  • The Mafiya: The Ranskahovs have a strong presence in Hell's Kitchen, with control over a chunk of its drug trade and a side business in human trafficking. Ending up on Wilson Fisk's bad side doesn't work out well for them, however.
  • Manchild:
    • Wilson Fisk is socially awkward and prone to tantrums. When he gets really frustrated, he balls his fists and contorts his face in a remarkably babyish fashion, usually signalling the onset of a Berserker Rage.
    • Melvin Potter comes across as a really big kid. When Matt shows up at his workshop, he acts like he's going to punished by his parent for it. By season 2, this character trait is dropped, since he doesn't have Fisk pressuring him or threatening his girlfriend.
  • Manly Tears:
    • Vladimir, when he tells his crew they're declaring war on the man in the mask.
    • Matt and Foggy do this in the tail end of "Nelson v. Murdock."
  • The Masochism Tango: Both Matt and Elektra are actively dangerous for each other to be around; Elektra derails Matt's life every time she's in it, while he indirectly causes her to endanger herself trying to be better for him.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • After Matt corners Fisk for the final battle, a dialogue exchange between the two is an exact match to an earlier one, with the roles now reversed.
    Fisk: I'm gonna kill you!
    Matt: Take your shot.
    • Several of Matt's interactions with Karen as Daredevil are echoes of interactions he has with her out-of-costume. For instance, Matt and Karen walking out of Frank's hospital room arm-in-arm in "Regrets Only" gets echoed in the season 2 finale when he rescues her from the Hand, as he carries her to safety in the same arm-in-arm pose. Matt cupping Karen's face before he kisses her at the end of "Penny and Dime" gets called back in the season 2 finale, as he strokes her face again in a very similar way upon cutting her restraints. During the "You're not alone, Matt" conversation towards the end of "The Ones We Leave Behind," there's a shot of Matt standing in the foreground and facing away from a shaken-up Karen, staged very similarly to a shot from the first episode, when Karen interacts with him in the mask after he defeats the assassin Fisk had sent to her apartment.
    • Matt's exchange with Karen while she helps him get dressed for Grotto's funeral...
    Karen Page: You okay?
    Matt Murdock: Yeah. I'm just...recovering.
    Karen Page: From what?
    Matt Murdock: I don't really have a name for it.
    Karen Page: But, you're feeling better?
    Matt Murdock: Yeah. Now. With you.
    • ...gets echoed nine episodes later when Matt locates Karen and the Hand's other hostages and checks to see that she's okay:
    Matt Murdock: You okay?
    Karen Page: Better. Now.
    • Claire's interaction with Foggy in "New York's Finest" when Foggy shows up at the hospital checking for Matt...
    Foggy Nelson: So [Matt] hasn't been here?
    Claire Temple: He have a reason to be?
    Claire Temple: You can cut the shit, I know who you're talking about.
    • ...gets echoed in "The Man in the Box" when Brett is asking her to admit into the hospital the kids Matt rescued from the Hand.
    Brett Mahoney: And do me a favor, keep the details of this arrangement to yourself.
    Claire Temple: Details?
    Brett Mahoney: Our mutual friend.
    Claire Temple: I don't know who you're talking about.
  • Meaningful Name: Each episode's name is in some form relevant to the plot of the episode at hand:
    • “Into The Ring” establishes Matt's origin story and sets up the theme of Matt being a boxer who gets knocked down and gets back up through the series.
    • "Cut Man" is a boxing term for a ringside doctor who treats boxers' injuries in a fight. Matt is also a "cut man", and the episode introduces Claire.
    • “Rabbit in a Snowstorm” introduces the titular painting, as well as its impact on Fisk (caught up in something bigger/what man you want to be).
    • “In The Blood” deals with the Ranskahov brothers, as well as the idea of not being able to run from something because it’s in the person's blood (Ben Urich takes the case; Fisk's criminal enterprise; and Matt's fighting)
    • “World On Fire” is how Matt describes his form of sight to Claire. The episode ends with Fisk literally setting most of Hell's Kitchen on fire as he blows up the Russians' hideouts.
    • “Condemned” sees Fisk use the media and police reception in order to make Matt a terrorist. It's also an apt decription of the dilapidated building where Matt is holed up with Vladimir and a police officer who stumbles upon them.
    • “Stick” introduces Matt’s mentor of that name, as well as arms Matt with a primitive version of his trademark escrima sticks
    • “Shadows In The Glass” reveals Fisk’s insecurities and how he is haunted by shadows of his former self
    • “Speak of the Devil” not only deals with personal demons, but also weighs heavily on the old saying “Speak of the devil and he shall appear” (ie: Fisk appears at the art gallery when Matt asks Vanessa about him, Fisk appears on TV while they’re talking about him at Josie's, etc)
    • “Nelson v. Murdock” - Matt and Foggy have a heated argument now that Foggy has learned Matt's secret. The title also frames this conflict along the lines of how actual court hearings are named (Party A v. Party B).
    • “The Path Of The Righteous” plays upon the idea of "becoming the devil so that others fear you enough to be good people". Additionally, it deals with the continuing costs of walking this path (ie: Claire leaves Matt, Fisk loses Wesley and almost Vanessa)
    • “The Ones We Leave Behind” deals heavily with those lost as well as whom they’ve left behind. Continuing from the previous episode (ie: Vanessa saved, Wesley killed), the episode also shows how one is almost lost at the start of the episode only to have another truly lost at episode’s end (Karen dreams Fisk is about to kill her in her apartment, Fisk actually kills Ben Urich in his apartment)
    • “Daredevil” - Matt is no longer the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen and earns the title of Daredevil in both the media as well as resembling his comic appearance (red horned costume with balanced beat sticks)
    • "Bang" - Frank Castle says "bang" before shooting Matt in the head
    • "Dogs to a Gunfight" - Frank Castle uses the dead body of a Dogs of Hell biker as bait for the NYPD and engages in a fight with Matt while under fire from the ESU teams
    • "New York's Finest" - The motto for the NYPD is applied here to Matt and Frank, two vigilantes, but can also apply to Claire
    • "Penny and Dime" - Refers to the children's book that Karen finds in Frank's house, as the last book Frank ever read to his daughter before her death
    • "Kinbaku" - This type of bondage appears in visual form with the knots Elektra uses to tie Roscoe Sweeney to a chair
    • "Regrets Only" - as in "the past catching up with you". Matt is starting to drift apart from Karen and Foggy as he gets more and more focused helping Elektra.
    • "Semper Fidelis" - The episode marks the start of the trial of Frank Castle, a former Marine, who use this phrase as a motto
    • "Guilty as Sin" - Frank sabotages his own trial. Karen catches Matt looking "guilty as sin" when she sees Elektra in his bed and thinks Matt is cheating on her
    • "Seven Minutes in Heaven" - Refers to Frank's massacre of Dutton and the prisoners in his cell block
    • "The Man in the Box" - Ostensibly refers to Wilson Fisk, who is able to cause a lot of carnage from the closed walls of prison by arranging Frank's escape
    • ".380" - Refers to the caliber of the gun Karen carries in her purse
  • "A Cold Day in Hell's Kitchen" - The episode takes place around December, and sees Karen and other Daredevil survivors get taken captive by the Hand as bait for Matt
  • Meta Casting:
    • Deborah Ann Woll's real life boyfriend EJ Scott is blind as the result of choroideremia, and she raises public awareness of the disease as a pet cause. This was lampshaded by Woll, as EJ actually dressed up as Matt for the season 1 premiere. And the show takes this full-circle partway through season 2, once Matt and Karen start dating.
    • Just like Matt Murdock, Charlie Cox was Raised Catholic.
    • Vincent D'Onofrio incorporates a good amount of his own social anxieties into his portrayal of Wilson Fisk, like difficulty maintaining eye contact, odd speech inflections, and, despite taking precautions, having a set routine. He has trouble "clearing his head" at times, and is insecure when out in public.
    • Marci Stahl is played by Amy Rutberg, whose father is an actual judge in Los Angeles.
  • Midseason Upgrade:
    • Stick drops by in the 7th episode, not only to give Matt back his escrima sticks, but remind him that meditation can help him accelerate his healing.
    • Matt slowly upgrades his costume after the first episode. First he uses rope to create pseudo-boxing gloves in episode 2, then gets padded gloves. Later he adds pads for the wrists, and elbows, as well as the escrima sticks. Finally, Melvin crafts Matt's signature red suit in the first season finale.
    • Early in season 2, Melvin builds a replacement for Matt's first mask after getting shot by Frank Castle, simultaneously very subtle while making it look dramatically better. By the finale, Melvin also builds Matt a new billy club that incorporates a reel of high-tensile wire, allowing him to swing around like his comic book counterpart. He also provides Elektra with a more protective outfit.
    • Matt undergoes yet another costume upgrade in season 3 to replace his season 2 costume after it was destroyed in Midland Circle.
  • Miles Gloriosus: When testifying at Frank's trial, Colonel Schoonover implies this was the reason he walked his men into an ambush that Frank rescued them from. He's lying to cover up the fact that he was forced into it by Rawlins and disregarded protests from Frank and Billy Russo that they were walking into a trap.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: A construction numbers racket being exposed courtesy of Karen equals the uncovering of a powerful figure controlling Hell's Kitchen.
  • Missing Mom: Throughout seasons 1 and 2, nothing is known about Matt's mom. She's not in the picture during any of the season 1 flashbacks, and when Stick asks the nuns about her prior to meeting Matt, they tell him "it's a long story". It's not until season 3 that Maggie Murdock finally makes her onscreen debut, tending to Matt following Midland Circle.
  • Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: Wilson Fisk doesn't initially seem to have any ambitions in this respect, as he's lost a lot of his resources and is mainly focused on protecting Vanessa. But when Dutton, who runs the prison's underground economy, unwisely attempts to intimidate Fisk, he quickly seizes control and starts making outside arrangements through his crooked lawyer.
  • Mistaken for Gay: When they first meet, Foggy compliments Matt on how handsome he is. Matt's expression and stuttering indicate that he thinks Foggy is coming onto him. Foggy is quick to realize the mistake and correct it.
  • "Mister Sandman" Sequence:
    • The flashbacks to Wilson Fisk's childhood in the 1970s, using "Brown Sugar" by The Rolling Stones to establish the setting.
    • Played with in the flashbacks of Matt and Foggy meeting in law school. Foggy's blasting a Train song from the early 2000s...while trying to register for Fall 2010 classes.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Fisk is brought down when Hoffman, bitter over Fisk forcing him to kill his own partner and best friend of 35 years, betrays him to the FBI.
  • Mob-Boss Suit Fitting: There's a variant involving Fisk introducing Leland to Melvin Potter, his tailor. Fisk himself doesn't need a fitting, of course, because Melvin already makes all of his suits and knows his measurements. The scene is used more to introduce Melvin, as he's the source of all of Fisk's knife and bullet resistant clothing.
  • The Mole: Ben Urich believes that there's one who works at the Bulletin that's keeping him from publishing anything involving the state of crime in Hell's Kitchen. He accuses his editor Mitchell Ellison of this, leading to him getting fired. After he's killed by Fisk, Karen firmly believes that Ellison is on Fisk's payroll, but the FBI arrests prove that while Urich was wrong about Ellison, he was right in believing there was a mole in the office: Ellison's secretary.
  • Mook Chivalry: Played with interestingly. Henchmen will often NOT observe Mook Chivalry early in a fight, and Matt can get beaten to shit as a result. After the first flurry of combat most mooks will be down, and the remainder of the fight will involve them recovering enough to rejoin the fight one or two at a time. An excellent example is the iconic hallway fight against the Russians.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black:
    • In season 1, Matt wears a black costume based on his prototype outfit from Frank Miller's Daredevil: Man Without Fear limited series, an even closer version during a flashback of his first night out. Only prior to his final bout with Fisk does Matt finally get his iconic Big Red Devil costume, which still has more black in it than it does in the comics.
    • In season 2, the "big red devil" costume has a lot of black highlights, but the red is also a much darker burgundy than it is in the comics. When Melvin builds a similarly-protective suit for Elektra, it's almost all black with some maroon highlights.
  • Mythology Gag: Has its own page.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Foggy Nelson's middle initial "P." initially didn't stand for anything in the comics. In "The Man in the Box," when Fisk is throttling Matt, it's revealed that the "P" stands for "Percy".
  • Never My Fault:
    • Wilson Fisk's father was one of these kinds of people. Bill's idea of "making a man" out of Wilson involved demeaning him, teaching him to blame others for his problems (including blaming Wilson himself for his own problems) and playing cruel jokes on him. When he lost the city council election, he believed that the reason he lost was because his wife and son didn't show him enough respect at home, not because he was a vile, vicious, petty loser. This led to him beating his wife with a belt, and caused Wilson to snap and kill him with a hammer.
    • In the present day, Fisk tends to operate on the principle that he should do the opposite of what his father would do in a situation. As such he owns up to his mistakes and then moves on, eventually. But he has his moments: after Matt foils Fisk's attempt to escape from police custody, Fisk goes on a villainous rant, clearly blaming Matt for the downfall of his operation. While it is true that Matt was the driving force, both in his civilian and vigilante lives, behind Fisk getting arrested, this is ignoring that the major factors that led to his descent were due to his own temper tantrums for minor slights (to elaborate, a string of events that began with Fisk brutally murdering Anatoly for simply crashing Fisk's date with Vanessa, which led to Fisk bombing the Russian mafia's hideouts, then sending in corrupt cops to finish off the survivors, then ordering the shooting of Detective Blake for accidentally leaking info to Matt, having Blake be killed in the hospital by his own partner Hoffman when this fails, Hoffman being stashed away by Leland Owlsley, then Hoffman selling Fisk out to the FBI after Fisk kills Leland in another tantrum). Not to mention the fact that he's, y'know, a criminal, and thus deserves to get arrested.
    • Nobu has an example of this in "Shadows in the Glass," after his Black Sky is killed by Stick, when he angrily confronts Fisk about not providing the Black Sky more protection. Fisk points out that Nobu only asked for the docks to be cleared of police interference and he held up that end of the deal, and it was Nobu's responsibility to inform Fisk of the importance of the incoming cargo.
  • Nested Ownership: Fisk has shell companies that have shell company subsidiaries of their own.
    • Nobu is retroactively revealed to be one, as despite being the apparent main leader of the Hand during season 2 and one who controls a large number of men, The Defenders establishes he's just a capo to Murakami.
  • Never Suicide: The first episode alone had not one, not two, but four attempts to cover up a murder as a suicide. Only the attempt on Karen is a failure.
  • Newscaster Cameo: NY1 reporter Pat Kiernan appears in several episodes of seasons 1 and 2, reporting on the shootings of the cops in "Condemned," Wilson Fisk's attempted escape in the season 1 finale and on the capture of Frank Castle in season 2, among other things.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: With the lawyers he could still afford to hire, Fisk might have been able to beat the rap on the charges for which he was originally arrested, especially since Wesley and Owlsley, the two people who knew the most about his rackets, are "unavailable" to testify. However, orchestrating the murder of a half-dozen honest cops and FBI agents in an escape attempt on national television? Not so much.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • Done repeatedly by Matt to the various criminals, partly out of rage and partly because he's an otherwise-normal man who needs to hit them multiple times to keep them down. Does this a lot to Frank during the first of the second series.
    • Wilson Fisk's favored method of execution (when doing it himself and not through one of his henchmen) is to simply pummel the person to death with his bare hands.
  • Not His Sled: Elektra is killed in this series, which reflects the original comics and the 2003 movie, and then is resurrected by The Hand for The Defenders. The difference is that Elektra is killed by Nobu this time, with Bullseye not popping up once.
  • Not So Different: Wilson Fisk claims this about himself and the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, though Matt aggressively denies it. "Condemned" has both Vladimir and Fisk claiming this about him, although he repeatedly tells them they're not the same.
    Fisk: You and I have a lot in common.
    Matt: We're nothing alike.
    • A major theme throughout the show is the similarities Matt and Fisk share. Both had traumatic experiences in their childhoods that have shaped who they are, both were strongly influenced by their fathers, both believe they are helping the city become a better place and use unlawful means to do so. At one point, Foggy even questions how Matt's methods are any different from Fisk's.
    • Frank Castle also states how he sees Matt and himself to be very much alike. In his own words: "you know you're one bad day away from being me."
    • Season 2 in general expands on this. Frank Castle, Elektra, and Stick all argue that Matt is Not So Different from them, and Matt finds himself straying closer to them at times. For instance: Agreeing with Frank that Matt's way isn't working, so "just this once" he'll help Frank find and kill the Blacksmith. Later, Matt apparently having his "one bad day" and throwing Nobu off a roof by his neck. Matt finally pushing Foggy and Karen almost completely out of his life, just as Stick suggested, and finally agreeing to run away with Elektra, wherever she wants to go to stay hidden from The Hand.
    • On the heroes' side, Matt and Karen's individual pursuits of justice (through Daredevil and through investigative reporting, respectively) are very similar in their determination and unwillingness to stop even when it means jeopardizing their own safety. This is especially noticeable in season 1, where her quest for justice is very much parallel to Matt's:
      • Both Matt and Karen have the tragedy of a car accident in their past. Matt was blinded by one, while Karen's brother was killed in one.
      • Just as Jack Murdock’s death profoundly changed Matt, the murder of Daniel Fisher wakes Karen up to the reality of the corruption and violence that’s taking place in Hell’s Kitchen. While she gathers other people later who serve as motivation for her cause, from the very beginning it’s Daniel Fisher’s inescapable ghost that prompts her to fight back. His memory keeps her going out there, even after two attempts are made on her life and after she is bribed to keep silent. Just like Matt's memory of his father.
      • Ben encourages Karen to hide her nighttime activities, but as a person already prone to keeping secrets due to the events that happened in her past, it’s likely that she would have done so anyway. She lies to Matt and Foggy from the day she meets them, and this continues even after she begins working to bring down Fisk. The parallels with how Matt hides his Devil of Hell's Kitchen activities from Foggy and Karen are obvious, and there’s dramatic irony in one scene where Foggy tells Matt that he thinks Karen is up to something and Matt dismisses his concerns saying, “Everybody has secrets, Foggy.”
      • Just like Matt, Karen manages to keep her friends in the dark for about half of the show until Foggy discovers the truth on his own due to finding them having just been attacked by Fisk's thugs (discovering Karen being menaced by thugs; finding Matt bleeding out from being maimed by Nobu and beaten up by Fisk).
      • Just like Matt is not dissuaded by Foggy's concerns about what he does at night, Karen is not dissuaded by Matt's concerns about what she's doing. She comes back at him with a very Daredevil-esque response: "Y'know, I don’t care what I signed or how much money they paid me to forget, I don’t. And I’m not just going to stick my head in the sand and let it happen to somebody else because I am scared! Which I am… a lot.”
      • As Karen goes out there and takes risks and digs deeper into Fisk’s business, she gets noticed. While Fisk’s immediate priority may be dealing with the damage Matt is doing to his organization, it’s not long before he notices the other, much more subtle type of vigilante showing up where she doesn’t belong. Just like Foggy's "You're gonna kill yourself if you keep this up" to Matt, Ben warns Karen to be careful, but she knows that care won’t get her the results she needs, and so she takes risks. Just like Matt gets a bit too confident and careless and ends up being maimed in a fight with Nobu, Karen gets a little too confident and careless and ends up being threatened at gunpoint by Wesley. Unlike Matt, though, it is Karen who gets the honor of receiving the standard supervillain threat of "Back off or I'll kill everyone you care about".
      • Wesley threatens to have Matt killed to scare Karen and cause her pain. The fear of Karen getting killed when she's kidnapped by the Hand in season 2 is enough that Matt can't focus and Elektra needs to rein him in.
      • In a show that deals extensively with Matt’s internal conflict about killing, it’s Karen who actually takes that step, and must deal with the consequences. Killing Wesley, although saving her life, takes a toll on Karen: Clearly traumatized, Karen resorts to alcohol to avoid the chronic anxiety that now colors every moment of her life. And Matt burning Nobu alive, although saving his life, takes a toll on him as Foggy finds him bleeding out in his apartment right afterwards.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: For the main trio of Matt, Karen and Foggy, the first big change of dynamics is when Foggy learns Matt's secret identity in "Nelson v. Murdock" and the second big change is when Karen finally learns it in the season 2 finale.
  • Not What It Looks Like: In season 2 Karen walks into Matt's apartment and sees a wounded Elektra recuperating in Matt's bed, but Matt doesn't explain beyond invoking the trope name and Karen, while clearly upset, says she doesn't want to know. Karen and Matt don't really reconcile until the season finale.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • Wilson Fisk allows Madame Gao to believe he cannot understand Chinese, but later reveals that he is somewhat fluent. His obfuscation has mostly been so that he has an excuse to have Wesley around for their meetings. Madame Gao also pretends that she does not speak English and requires a translator, can see through Fisk's ruse.
    • Matt uses obfuscating ignorance in everyday life. He can effectively "see" just fine, can hear conversations from blocks away, and can tell whenever anybody is lying to him, but he has to act like an average blind man anyway and play along.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: Averted during most of Matt's action sequences thanks to the mask, dim lighting, and the fact that Charlie Cox and his stunt double Chris Brewster share a vague resemblance, although it's clear that Cox didn't do much of the second season finale's climactic fight scene. Played painfully straight with Stick, whose action sequences are mostly of a much younger double wearing a wig with a few insert shots of the real Scott Glenn.
  • Official Couple: Matt Murdock and Karen Page. While their instant attraction to each other in season 1 is not initially obvious due to their preoccupation taking down Fisk, it's still apparent (Karen thinking Elena is talking about Matt when she refers to "the handsome lawyer" instead of Foggy; Matt insisting Karen continue translating for Elena because he likes the sound of her voice). By season 2, it's been six months since Fisk has been locked up, giving them more time to explore their feelings for each other, and they finally get a moment of intimacy by sharing a first kiss in the rain after Frank Castle is arrested.
    • Official Couple Ordeal Syndrome: Once Matt and Karen do begin dating, Elektra reenters Matt's life and essentially hijacks him, causing him to falter in contributing to Frank Castle's trial. It doesn't help when Karen stumbles upon a wounded Elektra in Matt's bed and thinks he's cheating on her. While they're estranged for most of the third act of the season due to this and their own individual pursuits of the Hand and the conspiracy behind the death of Frank's family, in the final scene of season 2, Matt privately meets with Karen to reveal his secret identity, hinting at the possibility of them reconciling. By the time of The Defenders, they're back on speaking terms, and their interactions are very intimate, but things fall apart again as Matt is "killed" in the destruction of Midland Circle.
  • Office Romance:
    • No surprise that Karen would take an interest in either Foggy or Matt given Nelson & Murdock is just a three person organization and they work in such close quarters, with Karen's reception desk being right between Matt's and Foggy's offices. Though they're preoccupied by taking down Fisk, Karen is drawn to Matt right away. By season 2, she regularly flirts with him whenever Foggy is out of sight. They even date briefly after the Punisher's capture, until Matt's double-life as Daredevil causes him to falter in contributing to Frank Castle's trial and Karen stumbles upon Elektra in Matt's apartment and thinks he's cheating on her. While Matt and Karen are estranged for most of the third act of the season due to these misunderstandings and their respective preoccupations with The Hand and Frank, in the final scene of season 2, Matt privately meets with Karen to reveal his secret identity, giving them a chance to reconcile. By this point, it's no longer an Office Romance because Karen is now working at the Bulletin.
    • Foggy and Marci by the end of season 2, now that both are at Hogarth, Chao & Benowitz and are established in The Defenders to be back to full-time dating.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • Matt's father beating Carl "the Crusher" Creel in the ring. Even better since from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. we know that Creel had the power to turn any part of his body into any material, and typically hid steel fists under his gloves. The Murdock boys can take a hit indeed.
    • Several moments in the famous one-take hallway fight have Matt disappear through a doorway and continue fighting, sometimes flinging a mook back out the door. These offscreen moments also function as points for Charlie Cox to switch places with his stunt double Chris Brewster.
    • Matt's takedown of the corrupt cops trying to kill Hoffman is only heard, not seen, with the camera instead focusing on Hoffman's closed eyes and fearful expression.
  • Oh, Crap!: A subtle one during "Guilty as Sin" when Reyes is cross-examining Colonel Schoonover. As she tries to discount his knowledge of what Frank did, he reveals that he was the "idiot that got them trapped there in the first place". And she seems to react accordingly, thinking, "How the hell did we miss his prosthetic arm?"
  • The Oner: A repeated element.
    • The entire end of "Cut Man" shows Matt beating on the Russians in a hallway without change in camera angle.
    • The cab scene in "World on Fire," including several orbital rotations, and the start of another fight.
    • Madame Gao's heroin base, and Matt's entry into it in "The Ones We Leave Behind" is another.
    • Matt's escape from the Dogs of Hell in "New York's Finest" is cut together to be seem like a one-take fight between DD and an entire group of bikers, starting in a hallway and progressing down a spiral stairwell. There are actually several obvious cuts and wipes used to transition between locations and sequences requiring complicated stunt work.
  • One-Man Army:
    • Daredevil, who takes down scores of thugs at a time, most notably in Cut Man and New York's Finest.
    • The Punisher, who attacks mobsters with such force it seems like an entire army hit them.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • Averted as the show has two characters named Blake. There's Detective Christian Blake, and ADA Blake Tower. It's a pretty subtle case as the former is an original character and Blake is his last name (though the only one he's ever called by), and the second is a character from the comics. Also, Detective Blake is dead by the time Blake Tower shows up.
    • Averted. There is Franklin "Foggy" Nelson and Frank Castle in season 2, mitigated by Foggy being Only Known by Their Nickname.
    • There are two "Bens" - Ben Urich, and Wilson Fisk's lawyer Benjamin Donovan. The latter enters continuity after the former is killed and is never referred to by first name.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Foggy's real first name, Franklin, is said in a flashback to his and Matt's law school days, when he's talking with Reyes in season 2, and when Fisk is threatening Matt in "The Man in the Box" in season 2, but is otherwise unmentioned.
  • Only Sane Man: Foggy is probably the only member of the Nelson & Murdock trio to not have a Dark and Troubled Past (as shown heavily with Matt, and heavily hinted with Karen) or to have an incredible knack of leaping into danger without a parachute. In "Kinbaku," his reaction to Karen admitting that she broke into Frank Castle's house is an exasperated, "No-no, we successfully dodged a metaphorical bullet and quite a few literal ones. We need to be done with the crazy, you guys! We need normal!" clearly reprimanding both Matt and Karen for their own chronic hero tendencies.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • Charlie Cox's natural English accent frequently pushes through the American accent he puts on to play Matt Murdock in much of the first episode. It's become less and less detectable as time as progressed, especially since Cox now resides in New York.
    • There are a few points where, on select syllables, James Wesley lapses into Toby Leonard Moore's native Australian accent.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Hand perform certain rituals to reanimate their dead. They keep their scars and some are even missing organs as is usually the case with reanimated corpses, but they retain their own personalities and intelligence and are as skilled as ever. Iron Fist expands on this further and shows that the process can even be applied before death. The Defenders then shows the resurrection process in detail when Alexandra is reviving Elektra.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience:
    • The Black Sky plot in "Stick" hints at more mystical elements that aren't present anywhere else in the show (or the rest of the MCU) as of yet, setting up the more mystical elements in Iron Fist, The Defenders, season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Doctor Strange (2016).
    • The raid on the heroin plant is close to cultist horror and has more hints of supernatural elements.
    • In the Season Two episode Regrets Only sees Elektra and Matt going undercover in a fancy dress party to steal secret information, making it seem more like a Tuxedo and Martini style spy thriller.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome:
    • Foggy Nelson. Graduating cum laude from Columbia University and getting a job offer at Landman & Zack right after internship would be a spectacular beginning to any law career, yet Foggy is always playing second fiddle to the genius and superpowered Matt Murdock.
    • Season 2 goes a good way into subverting this. While Matt is still extremely competent when need be, due to Elektra coming in and basically hijacking him he becomes unfocused and all but useless during "The Trial of the Century", leaving Foggy to step up. He does so remarkably, outright impressing the legal world while Matt looked terrible. By the end of it Foggy is recruited by Jeri Hogarth, to the point of her even offering to eventually make him named partner, while Matt is left having to run a solo pro-bono practice from his apartment due to his mistakes in the trial.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Matt believes that beating on criminals is okay, because they are criminals. Father Lantom tells him otherwise: "another's evil does not make you good". The Punisher takes it further, and simply kills them.
  • Perma-Stubble: Matt always sports a few days of stubble, even when he's practicing law. He must be a damn good lawyer.
  • Pet the Dog: Frank Castle adopts a brutalized dog from the Irish gangsters he killed. This is an early indication that the Punisher might be a decent man at heart.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything:
    • In season 1, one gets the impression that Nelson and Murdock: Attorneys At Law, spend a lot of time around their office instead of practicing law. This is justified, given that they're a fledgling startup law firm struggling to find clients. And their first two clients both turn out to be cases that are tied to Wilson Fisk. All of its employees are fully aware of this.
    • Subverted then played straight in Season 2. The season opens with Nelson and Murdock swamped with clients, who sadly still mostly cannot pay for legal fees steeper than home-baked peach cobbler pie. Once they take on Frank Castle's case, Reyes starts trying to shut them down, and their perceived bungling of the case (or the fact that they took it at all) drives all clients from their door. It folds by the season finale.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Officer Sullivan would not have died if Matt had simply told him that the cops in his precinct were crooked and were going to kill him when they responded.
    • It's unlikely that Ben would've died if Karen had immediately told Matt about killing Wesley when he found her in the office, as knowing what had just happened with Karen would've tipped Matt off to the danger that Ben was in. It's implied Karen is aware of this too.
    • Matt has a big problem with this, due to trying to keep his nighttime activities as Daredevil separate from his day job as an attorney. A lot of the conflict in season 2 would not have happened, and Nelson & Murdock's breakup would've been avoided, if Matt had just told Foggy and Karen right away that Elektra was back in town when she deposited the money into their bank account, rather than wait until Elektra threatened their key witness in Frank Castle's trial to do so. By doing so, he'd also have saved his relationship with Karen because she'd not be led to think he was cheating on her with Elektra.
  • Playing Card Motifs: Ben Urich uses playing cards and newspaper clippings when trying to suss out Wilson Fisk's criminal empire. When Matt finally gets to Hoffman, the one guy that will topple Fisk's empire, he tosses a card table aside and sends a game of solitaire flying.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The various changes in history in the MCU, such as the Chitauri invasion of New York City, are used as the justification for why Hell's Kitchen in the series is a Wretched Hive similar to its reputation for most of the 20th century instead of the gentrified area that has seen development and rental prices skyrocket in the same time period in real life.
  • Precision F-Strike: Frank Castle drops only the second usage of the F-Bomb in the entire MCU. It's sort of easy to miss, though, as he mutters it under his breath while Matt is in the process of very loudly chewing him out.
  • Product Placement: Foggy and Matt use Dell computers, various characters use Samsung Galaxy phones, and Melvin Potter is shown drinking a bottle of Yoo-hoo with the logo prominently displayed. There's a can of Progresso bread crumbs highly visible on the shelf in Nelson & Murdock's kitchen space, even though there's no conceivable use for them there.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The Prelude from Bach's "Cello Suite 1 in G Major" is used in "Shadows in the Glass" during Wilson Fisk's Morning Routine. "Nessun Dorma" from Puccini's Turandot is used during the montage of the FBI arresting Fisk's associates in "Daredevil".
  • Race Lift:
    • Ben Urich, normally a white guy in the comics, is now played by African-American Vondie Curtis-Hall.
    • The Night Nurse and Claire Temple, who are white and black in the comics, respectively, are consolidated into Afro-Latina Rosario Dawson.
    • Elektra, a white Greek woman in the comics, is now Greek by adoption, and played by French-Cambodian Élodie Yung.
  • Railroad Plot: Wilson Fisk's master plan is to raze down Hell's Kitchen and replace it with his own building plans.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: The act that finally drove Matt to put on a mask and start beating criminals half to death with his bare hands was the rape of a little girl by her pedophilic father.
  • Real Is Brown: Nighttime shots are typically nothing but shadows and muddy yellow lights, leaving a brown tinge to everything.
  • Reality Ensues: Has its own page.
  • Really Gets Around: True to the comics, Matt has a way with the ladies, though this remains an Informed Ability in the first season. He hasn't actually been shown to sleep with any yet (except with Elektra in a flashback).
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Matt is a devout Catholic as well as an ass-kicker.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Fisk's assassin Healy thinks so, as they have no chance of jamming up.
  • Reconstruction: The damage from the Incident has turned Hell's Kitchen back into the crime-ridden cesspool it was in the 1960s rather than the respectable neighborhood it is in real life. However, the flashbacks to Fisk's and Matt's respective childhoods show the neighborhood was much rougher than it is in the present, meaning that the 90s gentrification did happen, the alien invasion just wrecked the area pretty bad.
  • Red Herring: Mitchell Ellison keeps forcing Ben off stories that could hurt Wilson Fisk, until Ben finally outright accuses him of being in Fisk's pocket, which gets him fired. Then it turns out Fisk's mole at the paper is actually another reporter. Out of guilt for not backing Ben's research, Ellison cleans up his act and does everything to back Karen's investigation into Frank Castle.
  • Relationship Upgrade:
    • Fisk and Vanessa get one after Wesley takes the initiative and reaches out to Vanessa to calm Fisk down after he's intimidated by Madame Gao. Vanessa's calming influence allows Fisk to go public, painting himself as a savior and painting the Devil of Hell's Kitchen as a terrorist.
    • Matt and Karen are a bit more flirtatious around each other by the start of season 2, and celebrate Frank Castle's arrest by having a passionate first kiss in the rain. They are temporarily driven apart in the second half of season 2 by Matt's nighttime activities and Karen finding Elektra in Matt's bed, but in the season 2 finale, Matt privately meets with Karen to disclose his secret, and it is heavily implied here, and confirmed in The Defenders, that they reconcile.
  • Retcon: The "Nelson v. Murdock" flashbacks in season 1 get subject to a bit of retconning, due to the writers having to retweak things incorporate Matt's college relationship with Elektra. When they were writing Season 1, the writers had no idea if there would be a Season 2, or that it would contain Elektra, and so Foggy's “Greek girl” line was another nod for the comics fans. Additionally, in the "Nelson v. Murdock" flashbacks, Foggy suggests that Elektra was in Spanish classes with Matt, when the flashbacks of Matt and Elektra's college relationship establish that while Elektra was financially connected to the college, she wasn't actually attending classes.
  • Rich Idiot with No Day Job: When Matt patches up Claire's injuries from her time as the Russians' captive, she briefly wonders whether Matt is one of those playboy types she keeps hearing about on the news. Matt assures her that he does have a day job.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons:
    • Ben suspects that Ellison is stifling his attempts to investigate Fisk because he's on Fisk's payroll. It costs him his job. Because Fisk kills Ben that night, he never gets to know that although he was wrong to suspect Ellison as being dirty, his suspicion that someone in the Bulletin was working for Fisk was quite accurate. It was actually Ellison's secretary Caldwell.
    • In the first episode of season 2, Brett and Turk mention to Matt on separate occasions that they hear rumors of a new crew in town with military precision. It's then established that these killings are solely the work of Frank Castle. But then, towards the end of the season, Colonel Schoonover's crew turns up, made up of former soldiers who served alongside Frank in Operation Cerberus. Meaning the rumors of a new gang with military training were true, just not in the way everyone else was thinking.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: In "Rabbit in a Snowstorm", Shirley Benson, the Metro-General administrator, bemoans to Ben Urich about having to deal with a serious measles outbreak due to parents not vaccinating their children.
  • Romantic Rain: At the end of "Penny and Dime," a rainstorm provides the setting for Matt and Karen's first kiss.
  • Ron the Death Eater: In-Universe, Matt ends up getting a case of this in Foggy's eyes in the later stages of season 2, after the fallout from Frank Castle's trial. Yes, Matt lies, yes he isn't always the best friend he could be, and yes, he makes some pretty big mistakes. But he is, in the end, only human, and isn't alone. And Foggy is certainly justified in having a few issues with the things Matt does, in and out of costume. However, the fact that Matt isn't fully deserving of Foggy's trust does not make Matt fully deserving of Foggy's unyielding, unending condemnation, especially when these criticisms start becoming less and less about what Matt does, and more about who he is. Eventually, in "Seven Minutes in Heaven," Matt's response to getting yet another lecture from Foggy isn't to argue back, but to calmly respond, "I'm not gonna stop, Foggy. Not anytime soon. And to be honest, I'm done apologizing to you for who I am."
  • Room Full of Crazy: Ben Urich keeps corkboards at work and at home outlining Wilson Fisk's operation.
  • Running Gag:
    • Whenever being a lawyer is getting particularly stressful, Foggy will remind you that his mom wanted him to be a butcher.
    • The fact that Foggy studied Punjabi in college.
    • "Nelson and Murdock, Avocados at Law!"note 
    • When someone makes a gesture Matt's way, Foggy will sarcastically describe it.
      Foggy: [after the realtor curtsies at Matt] She just curtsied. It was adorable.
    • In the second season, referring to Matt's upgraded Daredevil suit as "pajamas."
    • Someone telling Matt that his costume sucks and Matt replying that he's working on it.
    • Frank Castle likes calling people he doesn't approve of (whether criminals or just low-lifes) "shitbags".
    • People criticizing Foggy for his choice of using cigarettes for Bess to bribe Brett.
  • Rule of Three: Wilson Fisk kills three people for interfering with the women he loves most in the world: Anatoly (for interrupting Fisk's date with Vanessa), Owlsley (for conspiring with the Hand to poison Vanessa), and Ben (for speaking to his mother).
  • Sacrificial Lion: Ben Urich is murdered by Wilson Fisk near the end of season 1.
  • Satellite Love Interest:
    • Elektra gets shades of this in season 2, since a lot of her characterization is built around her relationships with the male figures in her life, namely her ex-boyfriend (Matt) and her surrogate father/sensei (Stick), and those are the two people she primarily interacts with.
    • Marci Stahl has shades of this for the first two seasons, since she only ever interacts with Foggy, and the only time she has interactions with someone who isn't Foggy is in her intro scene, where in addition to Foggy, she also gets to interact with Karen. By her own admission, though, she just doesn't want to be sucked into Foggy's drama with Matt, though not knowing what the cause of this is. This changes in season 3, when she becomes a very crucial ally to help Matt, Karen and Foggy with their second investigation of Fisk.
  • The Scottish Trope:
    • In this show, and every one of the other Netflix shows, the alien invasion of two years ago is referred to as "The Incident" ("Is that what we're calling it now?") that drove down property prices and has brought in so much construction to Hell's Kitchen. The original season 1 scripts openly called it an alien invasion, but it didn't match the show's more realistic tone, including the lack of spandex, code names and overt superpowers. So it was switched with a nondescript moniker.
    • For the first part of season 1, Wilson Fisk is a taboo subject, and he has a reputation for ordering hits on anyone who speaks his name.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!:
    • Played with in Battlin' Jack Murdock's decision not to throw the fight against Creel. He knew it would cost him his life but he could not let his son down, which leaves his son with a load of money but no father.
    • Matt and Foggy were about to be offered a corner office at Landman & Zack, but after seeing their bosses seeking damages against a man who suffered terminal illness due to the shady practices of an L&Z client, they decided to start their own firm instead. Which was also a good thing in the long run since most of L&Z turns out to be in Wilson Fisk's pocket.
    • Wilson Fisk's people try to bribe Karen into silence after she leaks evidence of corruption at Union Allied to the media. James Wesley makes this clear before Karen kills him for threatening Matt's and Foggy's lives. Unfortunately, bribes don't work on someone who doesn't care about money and is determined to make those responsible for the attempts on her life pay for their wrongdoing. Karen makes this clear when Matt tries to lecture her for almost getting attacked:
    Matt Murdock: This is what I'm talking about. There are things out there. You can't be doing this. You're gonna get yourselves hurt-
    Karen Page: [angrily] No I—I have already been hurt by those bastards! You know what, I don't care what I signed or how much money they paid me to forget, I don't. And I'm not just going to stick my head in the sand and let it happen to somebody else because I am scared! Which I am. A lot.
    Foggy Nelson: [to Matt] If you could see her face, you'd know she means it.
  • Secret Identity Apathy: Frank Castle doesn't care about Matt's identity beneath the mask, and passes up the chance to unmask him even when it would be at no risk to himself.
  • Secret Keeper:
    • Claire, Foggy and Father Lantom eventually become this for Matt about his Daredevil secret identity. Only Father Lantom figured it out himself; Foggy found him beaten up from his fight with Nobu and Claire after he was lured into a trap by the Russians.
    • Season 2 adds Karen to this list, becoming the first one where Matt openly admitted the secret.
    • It's also implied that Frank Castle figured it out when he first meets Matt out of costume, and if he didn't he probably saw Matt's face through his scope at the end of season 2.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper:
    • Father Lantom easily figures out that Matt was "the Devil of Hell's Kitchen" from their confessionals, but doesn't say anything until Matt is about to reveal the secret.
    • While he never says it out loud, it's very obvious that Frank Castle figures out Matt's secret identity as Daredevil during their interactions at the hospital and during the trial, but he won't say a word about it because he just doesn't care about Matt's secret identity.
    • In the season 1 finale, when Foggy finds Matt blowing off steam at Fogwell's Gym, Matt asks how he found him. Foggy admits he's known for a long time about Matt's visits for years, but never spoke up because he was under the impression that Matt went here out of sentimental attachment to the place, not knowing about his other uses of the place.
  • Second Episode Introduction:
    • The second episode of season 1 introduces Claire Temple. The third episode introduces Ben Urich, Mitchell Ellison, Vanessa Marianna, and the first on-screen appearance of Wilson Fisk note .
    • In season 2, Samantha Reyes and Blake Tower are introduced in the second episode. Subverted in Reyes' case, as she actually made her debut in the season 1 finale of Jessica Jones in the epilogue scenes following Jessica's defeat of Kilgrave.
  • Self-Deprecation: Matt isn't too fond of his original black costume, describing it as a work-in-progress when someone tells him it sucks. He also has no problem with jokes about Catholics. Neither does Father Lantom.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • Season 1
      • The Ancient Conspiracy between Stick's order and Nobu's, which comic fans will know are the Chaste and the Hand, respectively, is left unresolved.
      • Madame Gao leaves to go back to her homeland. When Owlsley questions if her homeland is China, she says it's "some place much further away". Given her use of the Steel Serpent symbol, it's most likely she is referring to K'un-Lun. She's back in New York in time for Iron Fist.
      • Fisk never gets a chance to find out that it was Karen who killed Wesley, as he's incarcerated mere days after the event.
      • We never found out exactly why the Hand wanted Elena's property. The Defenders reveals that they used it to build Midland Circle and dig a tunnel down to a cache of dragon bones[[/note
    • Season 2
      • Frank Castle officially embraces his Punisher persona and goes off to clean up the streets. He's last seen looking at a disc labeled "Micro", left there by David Lieberman. Before he dies, Schoonover says that something happened on that mission in Kandahar that "they won't let go" of, which The Punisher reveals to have been the execution of Ahmed Zubair..
      • Elektra dies, but says that this isn't the end. The members of the Hand later dig up her corpse and place it in the sarcophagus that was receiving devotee blood earlier in the season, so they can revive her for The Defenders.
      • Fisk says that he plans on destroying Matt and Foggy's lives when he gets out of jail in season 3. He is last seen asking his men to bring him information on Matt, with it implied that he's recognized Matt's fighting style.
  • Series Fauxnale: The final episode of season 1 leaves on a perfectly fine place to end things, albeit with a few arcs left hanging that aren't part of the greater Defenders arc (for example, Karen's past).
  • Serial Killings, Specific Target:
    • When Detective Blake becomes a liability to Fisk, Fisk has a corrupt ESU sniper shoot him.note  However, if only Blake gets shot, any reasonable investigator will know he was specifically targeted, and will comb through Blake's life and eventually find evidence linking him to Fisk. Thus, after shooting Blake, the sniper also fatally shoots two uniformed cops nearby. Thus, it looks like Blake was randomly targeted. The public become aware that Blake was specifically targeted when Nelson & Murdock get Hoffman to snitch on Fisk.
    • When Madame Gao and Owlsley conspire to have Vanessa poisoned, they spike not just her wine, but several other guests' wine, so that Fisk will think he miraculously survived an attempt on his life.
  • Sex with the Ex/Sex–Face Turn: At one point, Foggy ends up having a one-night stand with his ex-girlfriend Marci Stahl. By the end of the finale, she rediscovers her soul and helps Nelson & Murdock dismantle Wilson Fisk's organization. Her relationship with Foggy is still nebulous, but they are both working at Hogarth, Chao & Benowitz by the end of season 2, they are back to full-time dating by the start of The Defenders, and by season 3, Marci is also firmly a member of the main gang.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: When Matt is leading Karen into his apartment in the first episode, she asks him if he has a shirt she can borrow since the t-shirt and clothes she borrowed from Foggy got wet while they were walking over from the office. Matt laughs and says, "Well don't tell Foggy. Let me grab something for you." He disappears into his bedroom to grab her one of his dress shirts. The audience then gets treated to a moment of topless Deborah Ann Woll as Karen pulls off her T-shirt in front of Matt, and begins buttoning her new shirt. With his heightened senses, it's pretty clear Matt is thinking, "Oh great, Karen's totally naked right now, isn’t she? Don't get sexual urges, Matthew..." Matt and Karen then proceed to sit down on the couch and have a very intimate conversation about Matt's blindness.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • All the clues suggest Wilson Fisk is the keystone of organized crime in Hell's Kitchen, and the heroes suffer and sacrifice greatly to defeat him because they all think his removal will collapse the criminal underworld. But the season 1 finale suggests—and the first few episodes of season 2 confirm—that Fisk and his associate gangs are just one syndicate that stands at the center of a bunch of converging criminal agendas. With him gone, the crime rate actually goes up as new gangs move in. And Fisk is just biding his time until season 3, when he gets released and begins plotting revenge on Nelson & Murdock.
    • It's revealed during Fisk's brief arc in season 2 that the Castle trial was always going to be a loss. Castle would either plead guilty, and end up meeting Fisk, or plead not guilty and be coerced by Fisk into throwing his own trial. The trial was a loss from the start, even with Matt's double-life stuff causing issues for the defense.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Defied. Frank Castle sneers at the idea of exploiting the over-used cliche for his own gain, and expresses the rather progressive view that it would be unfair to those who actually suffer from PTSD. Karen clearly admires him for this stance, and the viewers are supposed to as well. No one seems aware that PTSD can result from any sufficiently traumatic experience...like, say, seeing your own family die in front of you a hail of gunfire. And it's made even more clear in his own show that this is precisely what he suffers from: vivid recall of the trauma ("reliving" the moment), hypervigilance, fixation on the event, insomnia, a dramatic change in personality—all are symptoms of PTSD.
    • Although this is more a case of Exact Words. Frank seems to have issues with them claiming it was the violence he experienced on the battlefield as a soldier that was giving him problems. Frank corrects them by saying "It wasn't on the battlefield where my life went to shit". True enough in that his own show establishes that only what he went through under Rawlins' illegal CIA program and the murder of his family seem to be what's giving him nightmares. Frank's issue is probably not wanting to go with what he sees as a lie. He is suffering PTSD, just not as a result of what Foggy and Matt were trying to pin it on.
  • Shirtless Scene: Matt sleeps shirtless, showing off his sculpted pecs and abs along with a collection of scars. Claire jokes that the view is why she keeps treating his injuries.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • James Wesley is the only person who sees Fisk's relationship with Vanessa as a plus rather than a liability. He even eases his boss's anguish by bringing her over when Fisk gets upset after being threatened by Madame Gao.
    • Foggy is one for Matt and Karen. He's visibly trying to fight a smile whenever they're flirting in front of him. Even in The Defenders, he's still doing this.
    Foggy Nelson: Careful, Matt.
    Matt Murdock: What's that?
    Foggy Nelson: Keep going like this, you just might end up happy. And for a Catholic boy, that's a pretty dangerous thing.
    "I have small thoughts that I would like to see happen ... I'm invested in the Karen / Matt relationship. I'd like to see that figure itself out somehow. I feel like they could really help each other. And I think that they love each other a great deal. So I would like for that relationship to get back on track somehow..."
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Charlie Cox studied with actual blind people to master Matt's habits. Ironically, Matt Murdock is also mostly acting out those same habits.
    • Father Lantom mentions that "Satan" is derived from the Hebrew word for "adversary," and is applied often to random people in the Old Testament.
    • Matt mentions in one of the "Nelson v. Murdock" flashbacks that he can still get the spins, as the condition is due to the fluid in the head being unbalanced rather than anything to do with the eyes.
    • Matt says he is seeking forgiveness for something he is about to do, and Father Lantom says it doesn't work that way. You can't seek Catholic Reconciliation for future acts because part of what makes a good confession is resolving to never repeat whatever it is you are confessing to. It could also be an oblique reference to the medieval abuses of the concept of "indulgences,": forgiveness that was frequently sold, either to fund Church projects or line the pockets of less-scrupulous authorities. Sometimes, these were sold in advance of the buyer actually doing anything wrong.
  • Sickbed Slaying:
    • Fisk forces Hoffman to kill his own partner Blake in this way after Blake survives getting shot by a crooked ESU sniper. The guilt over doing so prompts him to later turn on Fisk.
    • Frank Castle's first attempt on Grotto is supposed to be this, but Karen manages to get him away in the nick of time.
  • Sinister Surveillance: The first episode sees Foggy hang up his wakeup call to Matt by saying he's going to bribe a copnote .
    Matt Murdock: [groans] Foggy...
    Foggy Nelson: Kidding, NSA, if you're listening! But seriously. Yeah. I gotta go bribe a cop.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift:
    • Matt spends the first season fighting in an all-black ninja costume with an opaque mask over his head. In the season 1 finale, Melvin tailors him his signature red Devil costume.
    • Following Nelson & Murdock's dissolution in season 2, Foggy moves to Hogarth Chao & Benowitz and starts wearing smarter, more formal clothing, gets a haircut, and begins slicking back his hair. He sports this haircut through The Defenders, a cameo in Jessica Jones season 2, and season 3.
    • Karen generally wears bright print dresses when she's working at Nelson & Murdock. In moving to the Bulletin, she starts dressing more professionally in skirt and shirts.
    • For his first few episodes, Wilson Fisk is only ever seen wearing all-black suits and his father's cufflinks. As his relationship with Vanessa blossoms, he starts wearing lighter shades, and a new pair of cufflinks.
    • Brett Mahoney gets a promotion for taking the credit in arresting Frank Castle. So he switches out his patrol officer uniform for a suit and tie, and that's what he's always wearing from that point forward. It's a sudden enough change that Foggy is surprised by it.
    Foggy Nelson: Brett, you're wearing a tie and it's...not a clip-on.
  • The Smurfette Principle: There's that one girl with blue lipstick, part of the Yakuza group who attack Elektra, who is apparently the only female Mook in the entirety of Hell's Kitchen. Though given the complexity of the stunts in the show, as well as the need for the Yakuza faction of the Hand to at least appear Japanese, the showrunners likely had a limited pool to choose from.
    • Karen, Marci, and Vanessa are this to some extent, as their interactions with other characters are primarily with men.
  • So Last Season: In season two, Matt faces Nobu, who has returned from the dead. While he does have trouble initially, he's not beaten as badly as he was when they first fought. By the end of the season he is able to fight and defeat him fair and square.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: In the season 1 finale, "Nessun Dorma" from Turandot plays as the Feds start dismantling Fisk's organization and making arrests based on Hoffman's information.
  • Starter Villain:
    • The Russians start as Matt's first opponents in season 1. After Wilson Fisk takes them out, he becomes the main antagonist for the rest of the season. Rance and Healy function as initial opponents for Matt from within Fisk's gang.
    • The Kitchen Irish and Frank Castle start off as antagonists for the first part of season 2. After Castle is captured, he moves to anti-hero status while the Hand and the Blacksmith move into the antagonist roles.
  • Stout Strength: Wilson Fisk is overweight, but has great strength. In fights, he relies on his brute strength to toss foes around. When Frank Castle first meets him in prison, he's seen rather casually bench-pressing several hundred pounds.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Fisk has an assassin kill Elena Cardenas to lure Matt into a fight with Nobu, as he's aware that elderly women and children are among Matt's weaknesses.
  • Stun Guns:
    • Leland Owlsley carries one around after Fisk kills Anatoly. He uses it to zap Matt in "Stick". In the season 1 finale, he tries to use it against Fisk, but the prongs fail to make a good contact, and Fisk thus shrugs it off and throws Leland down an elevator shaft.
    • In "Penny and Dime," stun guns and anesthetics are used by the Kitchen Irish to subdue Frank Castle when they corner him at the carousel. They don't take him down immediately, and he's able to kill a few of them before finally being knocked out.
  • Superheroes Stay Single:
    • Played straight as of the season 1 finale. Matt and Claire Temple start to form a connection, but they quickly realize that Matt's constant need to put himself in mortal danger would never let it progress far.
    • Matt begins dating Karen in season 2, but his refusal to tell her about his double life takes a toll on their relationship. The final straw comes when she finds Elektra in Matt's bed (though it's Not What It Looks Like). In the finale, Matt tells her his secret identity, with everything suggesting a future reconciliation.
    • It's also inverted with the super villains. Wilson Fisk, a megalomaniacal criminal mastermind, gets a (relatively) stable, healthy and fulfilling romantic relationship with Vanessa. Then he has to send her away because of Leland's attempt on her life.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Discussed. Wesley is unimpressed that the Russians can't deal with a lone vigilante running around in a mask:
    James Wesley: I mean, if he had an iron suit or a magic hammer, maybe that would explain why you keep getting your asses handed to you.
    • The Punisher season 1 creates a retroactive case of this, as it's never explained why Billy Russo and Curtis Hoyle were never called upon as character witnesses to testify at Frank Castle's trial.
  • Super Senses: Matt has superhuman hearing that allows him to "see" the world through a form of echolocation and eavesdrop through walls or large crowds with ease. His other senses (other than sight) are enhanced as well. He can smell someone's cologne from two floors away and he says that cotton clothes feel like sandpaper against his skin.
  • SWAT Team:
    • "Condemned": An ESU team shows up at the scene of the standoff with Matt and Vladimir, ostensibly to rescue a rookie police officer that Matt had taken hostage, but in reality are working for Wilson Fisk. One of them goes to a nearby rooftop and snipes Detective Blake and two other uniformed cops, while the rest of the team kills the unlucky Officer Sullivan, before gunning down Vladimir in the tunnels.
    • "Daredevil": An FBI SWAT team is responsible for escorting to Fisk for jail...except one of the officers in the truck is on Fisk's payroll, and kills his fellow agents when the convoy is ambushed and wiped out by mercenaries coming to free Fisk from custody.
    • "Dogs to a Gunfight" sees Reyes trick Grotto into being used by ESU as bait for the Punisher. Frank manages to use a semi truck with the dead body of a Dogs of Hell biker he killed earlier to distract ESU while he attempts to make another attempt to snipe Grotto. Matt interrupts this, and ESU snipers open fire on them as the fight progresses, with Matt at several times maneuvering Frank to keep him from getting shot.
    • "Regrets Only" shows that Frank Castle is considered enough of a flight risk to himself and to others that an ESU squad is assigned to guard his floor.
    • In "The Man in the Box," ESU cops are shown outside the courthouse when Reyes is killed.
  • Tagline:
  • Take a Third Option: In "New York's Finest", Frank Castle has Matt chained to a chimney with his hand duct taped around a gun with a single round. He gives Matt the option either to violate his moral code and shoot him, or allow him to execute Grotto. Matt shoots the chain, freeing himself and causing Frank to miss Grotto's head. It's not enough to stop Frank from fatally shooting Grotto in the heart.
  • Take Over the City: Fisk's goal through most of season 1 is to take over Hell's Kitchen and remake it in his own image.
  • Tempting Fate: In "The Path of the Righteous", when Karen grabs Wesley's gun, he attempts to talk her down by claiming that it would be stupid to put a loaded gun on the table. She then tells him that he isn't the first person she's shot, before unloading the entire magazine into his chest.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Madame Gao tells Fisk that he can't be both savior and oppressor. He has to choose. At first, Fisk genuinely believes in improving Hell's Kitchen. After his arrest, he decides that Hell's Kitchen doesn't deserve his "better tomorrow." He also recites the story of the Good Samaritan and wonders which character he is most similar to before deciding that he is the "man of ill-intent."
  • This Cannot Be!: The moment Matt (in his brand new Daredevil outfit) lands in front of Fisk to cut off his escape, all the stumbling gangster can manage to say is "You?!" as he realizes that the upstart meddler he thought he had left crippled and broken was responsible for his fall.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: A recurring theme. In spite if his vigilantism, Matt maintains that murdering someone, even with good cause, is a mortal sin. The one time he actually goes out with the intention to kill anyone, it's a misguided attempt to murder Wilson Fisk to avenge Elena...a hit that Fisk had ordered both to allow the Hand access to their Midland Circle property and also to lure Matt into an ambush from Nobu. In the second season, Matt's belief gets contrasted with Frank Castle, who does kill people and criticizes Matt for holding back. Later he gives Matt the sadistic choice of killing him or letting him kill Grotto.
  • To Absent Friends: Midway through the final episode of season 1, after Fisk's operation has been dismantled and he's been arrested, Matt, Foggy, and Karen are celebrating at the Nelson & Murdock offices, which eventually includes a toast to Elena Cardenas, Ben Urich and all the other people who have lost their lives because of Fisk.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Wesley, leaving a loaded gun within reach of an unrestrained Karen. She gets his gun and empties the full seven rounds into his chest. It's in character seeing as he's a bit of a Smug Snake who is very rarely not in control and he clearly is thinking that Karen is just a scared little girl who's too afraid to pull the trigger.
    • Ben Urich, who, after counseling Karen to exercise caution and restraint for a whole season, blabs about the latest information on Fisk in front of several witnesses, deliberately making a scene. This is how Fisk finds out that he talked with his mother; the mole was one of the witnesses.
    • Leland admits to culpability in Vanessa's poisoning, believing himself safe because of a complicated insurance plan involving stashing away Hoffman. This after commenting repeatedly throughout the season on Fisk's violent temper and unstable, homicidal tendencies (he did call Fisk out on killing Anatoly), and his generally unpredictable behavior when emotional, particularly where Vanessa is involved. He does all this when he is alone with Fisk in an alley and Fisk confronts him on these charges. Fisk throws him down an elevator shaft with barely a second's hesitation and then orders a hit on Hoffman.
    • The pawnbroker from whom Frank Castle acquires an NYPD communications rig. Sure, he had no way of knowing that his customer was the fucking Punisher, but what was the point of openly admitting that he sells child porn and even brokers in underaged prostitutes to someone who just walked in with a duffel bag full of weapons and just bought some ammo and stolen police equipment off of you not seconds before? Other than "please kill me now". Not to mention most real criminals actually frown upon child porn and molestation.note 
  • Took a Level in Badass: Wilson Fisk is coming closer to his Kingpin persona after being in jail and losing most of his power. Like in the comics, defeat reverts him back to his brutish side instead of the Affably Evil image he has when on top, and he learns from his mistakes.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • In Season 1, Mitchell Ellison is depicted as rather unsympathetic, to make it seem like he was Wilson Fisk's mole at the Bulletin. When Karen approaches him in season 2 to get his backing on the Frank Castle story, she's expecting him to see her as a replacement for Ben, and is surprised when Ellison instead proves much more helpful, genuinely shows concern for her and expresses great regret over not having backed Ben's work. A freeze-frame of an assignment board in "Seven Minutes in Heaven" shows that he also has revamped the editorial priorities to focus on important events instead of fluff pieces.
    • Foggy's appealing to Marci Stahl having "used to have a soul" gets to her. Not only does she readily turn in her partners, but in both of her appearances in season 2, we can see that since joining Hogarth Chao & Benowitz, Marci has become considerably nicer and has a more amicable relationship with Foggy. While Marci only gets one shot in The Defenders, it's clear she and Foggy are forming a healthy Office Romance at HC&B.
    • During Jessica Jones, Jeri Hogarth was incredibly amoral, even engaging in criminal behavior and trying to use Kilgrave to get Wendy to agree to lesser terms during their divorce. When she shows up in the season 2 finale of Daredevil, it's pretty clear that she's cleaned up her act greatly, and is back to something very close to what she like when she interned at Rand Enterprises, as she's impressed by Foggy's defense of Frank Castle to the point of hiring him on with the explicit promise of making him a name partner. Though Jessica Jones season 2 suggests that any change was probably just an act put on for Foggy.
  • Toplessness from the Back:
    • Is used in the first episode to show Karen from behind while she's switching into one of Matt's dress shirts.
    • Used twice in "Kinbaku", first when Matt and Elektra have sex in the boxing ring at Fogwell's in the midst of a sparring match turned sexual foreplay, and at the end of the episode, when Elektra is stripping out of a red silk dressing gown as she heads to her bedroom to change into her combat outfit in anticipation of the ninjas' arrival.
  • Torture Always Works: Justified by the fact that Matt is a Living Lie Detector. He just needs the perp to answer, and he'll know whether he's telling the truth or not; more often than not, as Matt himself admits, the violence is merely a way for him to let out his anger.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Wilson Fisk has a liking for zuppa inglese, an Italian custard dessert. As "Shadows in the Glass" shows, we learn that he acquired a taste for zuppa from his mother; when she's upset that Wilson is moving her to Italy to protect her from his criminal activities, Wilson assures her "They have zuppa in Italy. The real kind."
  • Tranquil Fury: When a pawn shop owner unwisely tries to sell Frank Castle child porn, the former dad responds by dropping his bag, flipping the open sign to closed, walking back to the counter picking up a baseball bat along the way, and bludgeoning the owner to death. All without a single word or the slightest change of expression.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The manhunt for Frank Castle makes up the sole plot for the first few episodes of season 2. In the fifth episode, Elektra is introduced and becomes the main plot, while the Frank storyline becomes the B-plot. The two are unrelated, and rarely intersect, aside from Madame Gao (herself a member of the Hand) giving Matt a lead on the Blacksmith.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • Most had Rosario Dawson's character pegged as Echo, White Tiger, or even Elektra. Nobody considered the possibility of her playing an obscure character like Claire Temple / Night Nurse.
    • Jon Bernthal as the Punisher in season 2 is a surprise considering the poor reception to every previous attempt to bring him to the screen.
    • Season Two's reappearances of Wilson Fisk, Madame Gao, Nobu, and Jeri Hogarth from Jessica Jones. In these cases, Fisk and Gao had been Put on a Bus the previous season (in fact, Fisk's return was quite a major twist due to the fact that it was a complete surprise despite the intense scrutiny every MCU property has been put under these days; it helped that a lot of the marketing for season 2 revolved around the addition of The Punisher and Elektra), Nobu was seemingly burned alive, and Hogarth was from a different show, making them all a bit of a surprise to many viewers. Fisk's mini-arc in season 2 was primarily to set him up for his return as the main villain of season 3, considering that D'Onofrio was the first confirmed cast member outside of Matt, Karen and Foggy to be announced for season 3.
    • Season 3's utilization of Rosalie Carbone as one of Fisk's allies, after her prior role in Luke Cage season 2.
  • Urban Legend Love Life: At least as far as season one goes. Foggy makes several comments about Matt being a playboy, but we never see him romantically involved with anyone outside of Karen in season 2 and his flings with Elektra and Claire. He doesn't even seem interested in a relationship as he is busy being a vigilante.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Matt and Karen. Even in their first scene, there's a clear attraction between the two, with their first scene alone being one lengthy dose of sexual tension (Matt is taking a gorgeous woman back to his apartment, Karen being reluctant to take Matt's bed until she sees the billboard, Karen changing into one of Matt's dress shirts in front of him, Matt getting vulnerable around Karen and admitting he'd do anything to see the sky one last time). Yet Matt is hesitant about her finding out about his alter ego as the Devil of Hell's Kitchen. They do get close enough to begin dating partway through season 2, but this is short-lived before Matt gets sidetracked helping Elektra and ends up neglecting Frank's trial and his relationship with Karen. They do get closer together once Matt reveals his secret to her, and even in The Defenders, the attraction between Matt and Karen is still evident in all their shared scenes, but now what gets in the way is the fact that Karen is still processing the whole matter of Matt being Daredevil and hasn't yet come clean with him about Wesley's death, followed by Matt's "death" under Midland Circle.

     V-Z 
  • Vagueness Is Coming: According to Stick, some sort of war is coming, and Daredevil will be a vital part of it. Season 2 reveals this war is against The Hand, but Stick continues to be vague as fuck. The Hand want to get their hands on a "Black Sky," which The Defenders reveals is meant to be a skilled fighter who assists the Hand in mining dragon bones under Midland Circle.
  • Vigilante Execution: When Karen kills Wesley, she heavily implies that she may have done something like this in the past, and which Deborah Ann Woll has teased has greatly influenced Karen's sympathies for Frank Castle and vigilantes in general:
    Karen Page: I don't know. [pulls back the hammer] Do you really think this is the first time I've shot someone?
  • Vigilante Man: Daredevil, who heroically battles criminals. Also the Punisher, who is a far darker version. They have a long conversation about this in season two.
  • Villain Ball:
    • In "The Path of the Righteous", Wesley decides he has to personally deal with Karen Page talking to Fisk's mom without telling anyone else. But instead of shooting her, he kidnaps her and then attempts to threaten Karen into duplicity by placing a loaded gun on the table in front of her. Despite her only being drugged, rather than restrained. Karen proceeds to grab the gun and empties seven rounds into him, calling Wesley's attempt to bluff that the weapon isn't loaded.
    • Officer Corbin, leader of the corrupt cops sent by Fisk to kill Hoffman before the FBI gets to him, manages to kill all of Hoffman's bodyguards, but when it comes to Hoffman himself, monologues for a few seconds before even beginning an attempt. This gives Matt enough time to show up and take down Corbin and his men.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Fisk goes through one after Matt stops his attempt to escape.
    Fisk: I wanted to make this city... something better than it is. Something beautiful! YOU TOOK THAT AWAY FROM ME! YOU TOOK EVERYTHING! I'M GONNA KILL YOU!
  • Villainous Friendship:
    • Fisk and Wesley are great friends. Fisk trusts Wesley with everything and Wesley goes way out of his job description to help Fisk when he's in a bad mood and risks Fisk's violent temper doing so. Fisk nearly beats Francis to death after Karen kills Wesley, Fisk shouting "he's my friend!"
    • Detectives Blake and Hoffman have been friends for 35 years. It takes an awful lot of money, a threat to his own life, and the knowledge that Blake would be killed by someone else anyway, to get Hoffman to turn on him. Even then, Hoffman is so wracked with guilt over doing so that he goes into hiding, stashed away by Owlsley, and later gives Fisk's operation up to the FBI.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Wilson Fisk's first onscreen appearance involves him browsing in an art gallery, where he meets Vanessa. He later takes her out on a date, which is interrupted by Anatoly trying to barge in to speak with him. His second date goes a bit more smoothly due to buying out the restaurant, the bombing of Hell's Kitchen notwithstanding.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Once Fisk decides to appear in public for the first time, he demonstrates great talent in manipulating the media.
  • Violence Really Is the Answer:
    • In "Nelson v. Murdock", Matt recounts the event that made him take up vigilantism: stopping a molesting father from harming his daughter again by beating him to the point that he spent a month in the hospital eating through a straw. Foggy, who's been angrily chewing Matt out for the duration of the episode about his recklessness and perceived betrayals, can only muster a single horrified curse and shudder when he hears this.
    • Then there's the season finale, where it's clear that Matt has no choice but to do this to stop Fisk from fleeing the country (and Matt similarly explains to Foggy when he goes out to rescue Hoffman from the corrupt cops sent to kill him). Most points in the show treat violence with ambiguity, but those two cases outright use it as a solution.
    • In Season 2, with Matt's non-lethal methods going up against The Punisher's methods, the question starts to be deconstructed. Less the idea that violence can be answer, but more how much violence does it take to turn you into another problem? Even Karen admits that sometimes, the Punisher's methods do work (though she's channeling memories of killing James Wesley when doing so).
  • Visual Pun: On Ben Urich's corkboard, Wilson Fisk, known in the comics as "The Kingpin," is represented by... a King of Diamonds playing card, tacked on by a white pushpin.
  • Weakness Turns Her On: Upon first meeting Matt, Foggy says that women must love the "wounded duck" aspect of Matt being handsome and blind. Certainly applies to Karen, as she takes a habit of bantering and flirting with Matt on a fairly regular basis.
  • We Have to Get the Bullet Out: Defied. In "Condemned," Claire explicitly advises Matt against trying this when coaching him on how to treat Vladimir's bullet wound.
    Matt: Shouldn't we take the bullet out first?
    Claire: Remember what I said about this not being a movie? You cut him open and start digging around, you'll kill him. This way, at least, he has a chance not bleeding out before you get what you need out of him. And it'll hurt like a son of a bitch so: bonus.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • A recurring theme in the series is how Matt is edging dangerously close to becoming worse than Fisk. When Foggy first finds out Matt's secret, and learns that Matt had been trying to kill Fisk in response to the hit on Elena:
      Foggy Nelson: You tried to kill him, Matt. You told me yourself. How is that any different than the way he solves his problems?
      Matt Murdock: I made a mistake. I know that.
      'Foggy Nelson: Misspelling "Hanukkah" is a mistake. Attempted murder is a little something else. You ever stop to think what would happen if you went to jail? Or worse?
    • The Punisher is an even more extreme version and plays foil to Daredevil.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • "Nelson vs Murdock" has Foggy give one to Matt after discovering Matt is the Masked Man, circumventing the law by being a vigilante and invading people's privacy using his super-senses.
    • Giving these to Matt becomes a recurring theme in season two, as convincing Nelson & Murdock to take the Punisher case — and then neglecting to help in favor of running around with Elektra as Daredevil — causes friction with Foggy and Karen.
  • Wham Line:
    • From episode 8, "Shadows in the Glass". Fisk kills his father by striking him repeatedly with a hammer. Marlene comforts her distraught son, and then suddenly, in a flat tone of voice, tells him "Get the saw."
    • From the very first episode of Season 2, when Matt is interrogating a dying cartel member about the (he thinks) team that's been killing criminals with military efficiency:
    Matt Murdock: "Tell me who they are."
    Cartel Member: "Not they. Him. It's one man."
    • In Season 2:
      Stick: Elektra works for me.
    • From episode 12 of season 2.
      Matt: What is it?
      Stick: The end of the war you don't believe in. We just lost.
    • The final line of season 2 as Matt reveals his secret identity to Karen.
      Matt: I'm Daredevil.
  • Wham Shot: A very brief moment from the first episode that makes it clear that Matt is in real danger: When Rance, the knifeman who had just been trying to assassinate Karen, easily performs a midair somersault in the middle of the ensuing fight.
  • Wicked Cultured: Apart from his appreciation of art, Fisk's morning routine involves preparing a homemade omelet and donning one of his many black suits, while the prelude from Bach's Unaccompanied Cello Suite 1 in G Major is playing in the background. The rest of his culture comes from others like Vanessa (the art) and Wesley (the wine). After he takes over Rikers, he's able to maintain some semblance of culture behind bars, enjoying gourmet food, wine, and classical music.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Matt and Karen had a lengthy case of the comics, and it's also the case here. Karen spends all of the first season fawning over two different versions of Matt, the lawyer and the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, not knowing they're one and the same, while Matt in turn flirts with Karen constantly. The first episode is pretty heavy handed on the romantic tropes with Matt and Karen. Then Claire is introduced the second episode, and Karen takes a backseat romantically, spending more screentime with Foggy and Ben. In season 2, Matt and Karen finally enter into a relationship and seal it with a kiss in the rain. They do go on one date, but then Elektra shows up and again Karen takes a backseat as he spends all his time dealing with Elektra and Stick's problems, resulting in Matt faltering in contributing to Frank Castle's trial, coupled with Karen stumbling upon a wounded Elektra resting in Matt's bed. After Elektra dies, Matt and Karen do get closer again after he reveals his secret to her in the closing minutes of season 2. By the start of The Defenders, Matt and Karen are back on good-enough speaking terms that Karen can't help but invite Matt out to lunch to get a comment on his latest case. The UST is still apparent later on when Matt grabs Karen from the Bulletin so he can place her in protective custody until the Hand are defeated. It seems that things have sailed when Matt is seemingly killed in the destruction of the Hand's base at Midland Circle, but Karen fervently insists to Foggy that her gut says maybe Matt made it out, we see she's still broken up about Matt's "death" during her scenes in The Punisher, and it's then revealed that Matt indeed did survive, with The Defenders ultimately having set Matt and Karen up to get back together and much more strongly for season 3 of Daredevil.
  • Wounded Hero, Weaker Helper: In "Cut Man," Matt is badly wounded during a failed attempt to rescue a kid. Claire Temple takes care of him for most of the episode while he's convalescing.
  • Wretched Hive: Hell's Kitchen. The producers have said they're trying to go for a gritty 1970s feel. It's Played With, deconstructed and then reconstructed. The Hell's Kitchen from Wilson Fisk's childhood of the 1970s, and Matt's in the early 90s, is much grittier than it is in present day. Even with the damage done by the Incident, it's clear the real-life gentrification of Hell's Kitchen happened in the MCU. It's just that the alien invasion undid a lot of that. Because of the real-life gentrification, Hell's Kitchen looks nothing like it did in the 1990s, so Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Greenpoint are used as shooting locations.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Wilson Fisk is a master of this trope.
    • When Nobu is becoming too much for Fisk to handle, he asks him to send a specialist to fight the Man in the Mask, who is also a problem. Nobu goes himself (Fisk knows he couldn't resist a challenge), and Fisk lets him burn when Matt sets him on fire. There is really no way that wouldn't work out in Fisk's favor.
      Wilson Fisk: In a perfect world, you'd have killed each other. But then, we don't live in a perfect world.
    • Fisk, through proxies, convinces Frank Castle to throw his own trial so he'll be sent to prison. Once there, he tells Frank that his rival, Dutton, has information about the death of his family, and gets Frank into Dutton's cell block so he can interrogate and kill him. Fisk then double-crosses Frank by locking him in and releasing Dutton's men from their cells to kill him. When Frank kills them all instead, Fisk even turns that to his advantage by arranging for Castle to be smuggled out of the prison disguised as a corrections officer. Frank even realizes exactly what Fisk is doing: he wants Castle to resume his crusade against crime, weakening Fisk's rivals enough to put Fisk in a better position to strengthen his own operation once he's finally released. It also allows Fisk to get retribution against Matt and Foggy, the two lawyers defending Frank, and whose meddling with the tenement case caused Fisk's incarceration, by destroying their firm as collateral.
  • Yakuza: They appear in season 1 as allies of Wilson Fisk, led by the sinister Nobu. Later they come back in season two after Matt thought he had them on the run. Ultimately Subverted when it's revealed that they are actually the Hand.
  • Yoko Oh No: In-Universe
    • Wilson Fisk's associates see Vanessa as this. It gets to the point that Owlsley and Madame Gao try to have her killed in a misguided attempt to get Fisk to focus more on his criminal activities.
    • Foggy sees Elektra as "bad news bears" when she pops back into Matt's life in season 2, since Matt nearly flunked out of Civics and torts when he was dating her in law school.
  • You're Insane!: Matt calls Frank insane in "New York's Finest". This angers Frank, who knocks him out.
    Matt: There is goodness in people, even in you. And you're gonna have to kill me, 'cause I'm never gonna stop coming for you, until I take you down. You wanna know why?
    Frank: Why's that?
    Matt: Because you're a nutjob!

Matt Murdock: I can't do this alone.
Karen Page: You're not alone.

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