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Series / Day Break (2006)

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"We may race and we may run"
"We'll not undo what has been done"
"Or change the moment when it's gone"
David Gray's The Other Side, played near the end of the first episode

Today Detective Brett Hopper will be accused of shooting state attorney Alberto Garza. He will offer his rock solid alibi. He will realize he's been framed. And he will run. Then he will wake up and start the day over again.

Day Break was a 2006 action thriller television series starring Taye Diggs (Equilibrium, The Way of the Gun) as a cop framed for murder. He's on the run from the police, a local Latin gang who want to track down the key witness he's hidden away, and the shady mobsters who want him to take the fall. With each loop Hopper gets another chance to fix all his mistakes and try to escape the day.

What sets this apart from other time loops is the fact that injuries sustained carry over in the loop, so dying is not an option. Also, he can inspire individuals to fix their own problems by leading them towards their own personal epiphanies, which keeps him from having to fix everyone's problems everyday. This can cause problems when people don't do what he expects.


It's up to Hopper to find the true murderer, save his loved ones, get his witness to trial in one piece, and make it to tomorrow.

Not to be confused with the British breakfast television show or the Netflix series.

This series provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: This seems to be the rule of the time loop. Solving all the immediate issues of the day seems like it should be enough, but it appears that if there are any lingering questions about his own case, The Conspiracy, or the dilemmas of his friends and family, then Hopper's still stuck, much to his dismay.
  • Abusive Parents: Miguel Dominguez, a notorious Professional Killer working for the conspiracy, went to prison for murdering his own parents. It's originally believed that he's just a total psycho who targeted his sister afterwards and she's been in hiding ever since, but it eventually transpires that he was trying to protect her because their father slashed up her face while the mother watched. She's adored him ever since and is his contact in Los Angeles.
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  • After-Action Healing Drama: When Hopper is shot while he and Rita are on the run, she must patch him up in a motel room while the killers are still after them. Even after the day resets, his wound is life-threatening enough to send him to the hospital after waking up to a puddle of blood.
  • AM/FM Characterization: A funny moment when we learn that the skinheads in their van listened to "Heat of the Moment" by Asia before they went to attack Damien.
  • Ambiguous Ending: The last shot of the show has a very well-dressed Jared smiling at Hopper enigmatically from across the street. What does he have to do with what happened? Where did the loop come from anyway? Completely unknown.
    • Less cosmically ambiguous but still unknown is what all the escaped prisoners will get up to.
  • Amoral Attorney:
    • US Attorney Nathan Baxter sold his witness Damien to the conspiracy. He tries to sell Hopper in several episodes too.
    • Hopper's attorney Barry Colburn turns out to be the mastermind behind the conspiracy.
  • The Anticipator: Hopper's time loop gives him this ability if he avoids changing the day too much from what he's already observed. He only shows it off occasionally, but particularly in episode 11, complete with Three... Two... One... countdown to a noticeable pratfall and prediction of exact words in various conversations.
  • Anyone Can Die: Most of the main cast die at least once. But next day they live again. Hopper's biggest fear is the loop stopping when somebody he cares about is dead. In the end it's subverted, all Hopper's friends live.
  • Arc Words: "Decisions ... consequences." These words are originally spoken by the Man in the Quarry to threaten Hopper, and recur several times throughout the series. It's unintentionally very appropriate to Hopper's predicament, since every action he takes during the time loop to solve the conspiracy could result in something he didn't foresee.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: After Hopper's landlord identifies the guy who killed his new tenant and hid his body in the bathroom, he can't let go of their failure at their plumber impersonations.
    Mr. Zeitoun: They're the ones who put Mr. Jarvik in tub. They did not fix leak.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: Detective Choi is assaulted in a white supremacist bar.
  • Back To Normal: Hopper's goal - preferably after stopping all the murdering. In the finale, it happens, albeit slightly more abruptly than he expected.
  • Bait-and-Switch Accusation: At the start of episode 5, a deputy approaches Hopper, saying he knows what's going on. Hopper looks baffled but then it turns out the deputy was talking about the I.A. meeting with Shelton.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Hopper gets a little rough with Rita at a diner. She decides to leave and when Hopper tries to follow, a police man blocks his way. Hopper then successfully uses a scare tactic in order to get rid of the cop:
    Hopper: Just so you know, that girl is a witness in a homicide case. It she gets away, she's gonna be in serious danger. Now do you want that on your head?
    • When Hopper is apprehended at Garza's house, he flashes his badge and pretends to be checking the security. Fortunately, uniformed cops don't know the face of the prime suspect.
  • Big Bad: Councilman Tobias Booth, who is leading a city-wide alliance of corrupt administrators trying to control Los Angeles behind the scenes. Booth is directly responsible for framing Hopper and setting the whole plot in motion. At least until it's revealed that he actually answers to Barry Colburn, Hopper's supposed defense attorney.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the last possible moment Hopper and Chad storm the motel room door and shoot Detweiler who was about to kill Billy and possibly Rita.
  • The Big Guy: Hippo.
  • Blood from the Mouth:
    • The female victim sports this while floating in the pool at Baxter's place.
    • Also Chad when being shot in episode 6.
  • Book-Ends: Although there's one scene afterward, the last scene with dialogue is waking up in the bedroom of Brett's apartment, after a whole season stuck in the same bed in Rita's place. Then Brett teases her about her pillows again.
  • Bottle Episode: Hostage episode 5, which takes place in Chad's office with lots of dialoguing.
  • Brick Joke: In the middle of episode 5, Chad tells Hopper he still owes money from coffee debt when they were partners. In the very last shot of the episode, after the day has reset, Hopper steals something from him and leaves exact change in return.
  • Broken Aesop: The loop changing for the worse seems like it's supposed to be due to Brett's apathy, callousness and despair, but these feelings have been growing for awhile; only being honest with Rita about those feelings actually seems to trigger the change. "He should've just not mentioned it" was probably not the intended takeaway.
  • Buried Alive: Detweiler, by his own gang at the rock quarry.
  • Calling Card:
    • Hopper mentions that the real killer might have left the gun at his place as a calling card.
    • Miguel Dominguez spends a whole scene leaving a fingerprint on a mirror and breathing condensation on it, seemingly to befuddle the law enforcement who see his record clearly stating that he couldn't be committing any crimes since he's locked up in Pelican Bay.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Chad always retains his Smug Snake disdain for Hopper even on the multiple occasions where Hopper has him at gunpoint or they're trading blows. This may be Nerves of Steel, or maybe just his Jerkass tendencies beating out his self-preservation.
  • The Cavalry: The police force comes to the aid of Choi after he is captured in the Bad-Guy Bar.
    • Hippo helps out Hopper a few times he seems to be in deeper trouble than normal.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Hippo. He shows up at LAPD as a random stranger at the vending machine but later turns out to be Uncle Nick's dragon and Friend on the Force.
  • The Chessmaster: Barry Colburn has been running a city-wide conspiracy along with other corrupt officials for decades, had Hopper framed through his front-men for Garza's murder and then acted as his attorney, and even the dismantlement of his organization just results in him choosing to cut his losses, while remaining a free man protected from any and all prosecution and never even having been a suspect.
  • Clear My Name: Hopper is framed for the murder of Alberto Garza and must figure out who's doing it and why. Bummer, when he realizes that clearing his name was not fixing the loop. He has to do more than that.
  • Confiscated Phone: In episode 7, Hopper hijacks the laptop of a pedestrian to read out the data from his USB Stick.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Chad Shelton.
  • Crime Time Soap: The series revolved as much about the personal lives of Brett and his family and colleagues as it did on the mystery.
  • Cut Short: Averted, actually. The show was canceled after only six episodes were aired, but the 13-episode season was already completed. Despite the Sequel Hooks, the series' one season is actually a fully completed and pretty well-contained story.
  • Darkest Hour: Hopper watching his mother wailing at the death of his sister was pretty rough, but at least he was still able to rely on the Reset Button. Perhaps the most disturbing time during his experience was his finding Safety in Indifference and essentially giving up on solving the loop, having done everything he could think of with no results to show for it.
  • Dark Secret: Rita's backstory of having killed her dad with a flashlight for him mistreating Billy.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Most of the supporting cast has a problem to be solved, and they get their own episode to deal with it.
  • The Day of Reckoning: Naturally, the day of the time loop plus the day after. As Hopper slowly discovers, it seems like the villains have been setting up some grand plans for this day for a very long time, and of course it's up to him to corral the other good guys and stop them.
    Detweiler: A reckoning has come today, Sergeant. Our slates are being wiped clean. [...] I'm afraid you have a decision to make.
  • Dead Man's Switch: Hopper does this twice: once with a wire hanger tying together his hand, the trigger of his gun, and a hostage's head; and a second time pulling the pins of two grenades as he walks into a room, but holding down the triggers with his hands. He was bluffing. The pistol wasn't loaded and the grenades would not explode.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Spivak has a few choice lines, but his reaction to Hopper laying it all out while holding a hostage is probably the pinnacle.
    Hopper: I'm living this day over and over! If I get caught, Rita will die. Again!
    *beat* [Camera pans over the slightly stunned faces of the officers watching.]
    Spivak: Yeah. This is gonna end well.
  • Death Is Cheap: Despite the presence of a "Groundhog Day" Loop, this is deconstructed and also partially averted. Wounds that the main character suffers carry over into the next day, so Hopper can't use Save Scumming to get away with being reckless and getting into unnecessary gunfights - if he dies, that's it. He also can't just dismiss other people dying even though they do generally come back, as he has no control over the loop. When someone asks him why he doesn't just "try again the next day" when Hopper isn't certain about someone's safety, he admits that his worst fear is that someone he loves will be killed for good because the loop has stopped.
  • Déjà Vu: Naturally, Hopper thinks the loop is just this, for the first half hour or so the second time around.
  • Description Cut: Hopper tosses Rita's phone when she takes a call from Chad, telling her Chad's in a room full of cops tracking it. It turns out he's in a bar...about to meet with one of the thugs who's been following and shooting at Hopper.
  • Detective Drama
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Happens several times. In one iteration of the loop, Brett accidentally reveals to Rita that their first date was actually a stakeout.
  • Dirty Cop:
    • Fencik and Buchalter are former sheriff's deputies, and seem to have been into some shady dealings even when they were still on the force.
    • Chad Shelton, who tried to frame Hopper for the Garza murder.
    • Uncle Nick and Hopper's father, who took the hush money and dropped the Jane Doe murder case.
  • Diving Save: Hopper is saving Margo from the bus this way.
  • Domestic Abuse: Subverted. During earlier runs we are to believe that Hopper's brother-in-law mistreated his sister. Turns out it was the baddies.
  • Do with Him as You Will: At the end of the series, detective Brett Hopper discovers that the person who killed his father years earlier is actually uncle Nick, his father's old partner. Hopper's informant Damien, a career gangster, captures him after he tried to double cross Damien and to give Hopper the satisfaction of killing him presents him with a gun. Hopper taunts the killer's protests that he had no choice by saying that there's always a choice and walks away. Damien executes the killer seconds later.
  • Dramatic Irony: The audience gets to see some events Hopper doesn't, which means that not only is there the usual irony, but they even know what terrible things WILL happen if Hopper doesn't fix it - which usually takes him at least a few loop cycles to figure out.
    • Just minutes after seeing Chad getting assassinated at the end of the previous day:
    Battle: God forbid I keep Shelton waiting.
    Hopper: Well, he'll live.
  • Draw Aggro: Battle does a Heroic Sacrifice and draws Buchalter and Fencik away from Hopper and Rita at the motel so they could escape. Doubles as Redemption Equals Death because Battle atones for the Overt Rendezvous trap she took part in.
  • Driven by Envy: Some of Chad's actions are caused by his resentment of Hopper's relationship with Rita, his ex-wife.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Hopper's dad years earlier. Subverted — his old partner actually killed him because he was digging too deep into a case.
    • Played straight with Conrad Detweiler in the last episode, who places his shotgun underneath his chin upon reading about the conspirators being rounded up in the morning paper.
    • Mrs Garza either got killed or shot herself too.
  • Dungeon Bypass: The foreknowledge allows Hopper to do this. He spends the day or two, or a week navigating yet another figurative maze, finding keys to people, and in the end marches straight to his goal. Can't get a murder book from an uncooperative IA investigator? Break into his car. Spent hours searching for the right photo? Next day he finds it in seconds.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The lives of Hopper and everyone he knew were really damned screwed up before the conspiracy made its move.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Boy does Hopper ever.
  • Embarrassing Ringtone: Chad has an embarrassing ringtone on his phone and Rita calls him out on it when they drive in his car. It's unclear if he has this ringtone for everyone or only for Hopper.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: Detweiler does this in episode 6.
  • Entitled to Have You: Chad is still broken up about the failure of his marriage to Rita, thinks that they belong together, and that Hopper isn't worthy enough to be with her. He frames Hopper for Garza's murder by tampering with the murder weapon while it's in evidence lock-up.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: When Hopper tracks down Detweiler, the latter turns out to be a caring husband who would die for his family.
  • Evil All Along:
    • Uncle Nick killed Hopper's father way back when to save his own hide.
    • Chad Shelton planted the murder weapon to incriminate Hopper.
    • Barry Colburn is initially introduced as a helpful if skeptical defense attorney assigned to publicly defend Hopper, and in a later episode he helps Hopper out further with his investigation. At the end of the series it's revealed that he was actually pulling the strings of the Big Bad.
  • Fake in the Hole: Hopper throws a rigged hand grenades at the gang of baddies who have kidnapped Choi. The distraction works long enough for The Cavalry to enter.
  • Fall Guy: Hopper was supposed to take this roll for the murder of Garza.
  • Fanservice: Victoria Pratt and Moon Bloodgood are always lookin' good, and considering that Taye Diggs wakes up every morning with his shirt off... Except that one time after he got shot.
  • First-Name Basis: Noticeable for Hopper calling Chad by his first name, while in reverse it's the opposite. Possibly used to show that Hopper doesn't respect Chad much even when dealing with him professionally. Also a result of One Steve Limit: because Rita kept Chad's last name from when they were married, it would be confusing to call either of them "Shelton" (even in-universe).
  • Flash Sideways: It's not fully explained how other characters besides Hopper are affected by the time loop, but Andrea, Jennifer, and Rita all seem to have vague recollections of memories or emotions after significant events in previous loop cycles, causing them to behave differently and "change the day".
  • For Want of a Nail: Usually the Decisions he makes have pretty clear Consequences, but sometimes Hopper has to puzzle out which action he took could've led to an event he observes later. Most dramatically, in episode 11 a small change involving Rita somehow causes a sharp change in how the police are handling the murder investigation.
  • Frame-Up: Several measures are taken to ensure Hopper is found guilty for Garza's murder. The murder weapon is planted in his apartment. A shirt with Garza's blood shows up at Rita's place. Garza's wife claims to have seen Hopper at the crime scene. And lastly Chad Shelton plants finger prints on the weapon to further incriminate Hopper, although he did so for personal reasons.
  • Friend on the Force: Andrea Battle, Hopper's partner, who still has inside access while Hopper is on the run.
  • Gilligan Cut: In episode 9, Rita ends a day mad that Hopper never confided in her, telling him one reason to have loved ones is "you can tell them anything". Cut to her exclaiming "I can't believe you just told me that!" at the beginning of the next day.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Subverted. Injuries Hopper sustains from one day carry over to the next, ranging from a shaving cut to bruises to bullet wounds. Everybody else is fine though.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Chad clearly is having trouble letting go of Rita - his ex-wife and Hopper's girlfriend. When he not infrequently can't resist saying something bitter about Hopper, those nearby tend to glare at him with disgust, annoyance or pity.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The whole series is built around one. In all, Hopper seems to be stuck in the loop for a month or two until he dismantles the conspiracy successfully.
  • Guns Akimbo: Brett pulls this off on his 3rd loop during the hotel shootout.
  • Heroic BSoD: After the death of Hopper's sister, he flashes back on the deaths of everyone he cares about due to his actions in the loops and starts to break down. He gets over it pretty fast, though.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Battle in the motel shootout. Hopper runs to the car, Andrea is covering him. The gunman shows up, and rather than shoot him, she calls out and allows herself to be shot.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Rather unspectacular variety. Most of the days the bus driver simply faints behind the wheel, ramming several cars and sometimes people. On the last day, Hopper insists he's about to have a stroke despite no evidence to that effect - until faints while arguing with Hopper, rolling up his eyes and collapsing. Rita, the only medic present, does not object Hopper's diagnosis.
  • Hollywood Healing: With the amount of days Hopper has to go through, some of them involving being knocked out or beaten, we see perhaps a little bit less permanent physical harm than expected. However, there are some clear aversions:
    • Hopper winces and checks his ribs after the first night of being kidnapped and kicked around.
    • Hopper's gunshot wound requires serious treatment, has a life-threatening regression when the day resets and his stitches disappear, and requires attention from Hopper every morning for many days (and episodes) thereafter to keep the wound clean, bandaged, and healing properly. Rita also asks about it when she discovers the scar later - although why this didn't seem to be an issue nearly every day thereafter is unclear.
  • Hostage Situation: Of all the places to have one, Hopper starts one in his own police station in downtown L.A. during one of the time loops. He needed a case file which happened to be checked out by an Internal Affairs agent who hates Hopper. And the agent chooses to be obstructive out of spite and couldn't be persuaded (let alone bribed, since he's I.A.). The first time Hopper tried force to get his way it immediately got him arrested, the second time he actually had to take the agent hostage in his own office, resulting in an hours-long armed stand-off with his colleagues.
  • Hostage Video: The baddies leave one of these behind showing Hopper's brother-in-law bruised up and tied to a chair.
  • Hurting Hero: Several scenes let Taye Diggs show his skills showing just how devastating it is to watch the murders of everyone from innocent bystanders to associates to family members play out in different ways day after day, some of which are consequences of his own decisions.
  • I Can See You: Played for laughs when Hopper calls Margo to hurry her to work so she can avoid the bus crash, telling her to not stop for coffee. She keeps going towards the cafe, so Hopper repeats "I said don't stop for coffee!" causing her to look around in confusion as she hurries back to her car.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Uncle Nick drops this line when being questioned by Hopper about his past as a Dirty Cop.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode title begins with the question "What If...", illustrating how Hopper uses different tactics each day to get to the bottom of the conspiracy.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Hopper declines to kill Uncle Nick, who killed his father. Somewhat undermined by letting Damien do it instead.
  • Ignore The Sexy: Hopper can't be bothered to get involved with the sexy girl who made a pass at him on the plane to San Francisco. He's a bit preoccupied with being stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop and having to clear his name after being framed for murder.
  • I Miss Mom: Gender Inverted example, as Hopper responding to "think of your father!" with "I do. Every day..."
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Hopper often reveals that he knows more than he should due to his expanding knowledge from previous loops which gets him into tricky situations.
    • In episode 10, Hopper wants Battle to look into all murder cases done execution style. When Spivak hears this he notes that this further incriminated him since Garza was killed that way and the information was not released to the public. Battle is not impressed by this detail and sticks with Hopper.
    • In episode 11, Hopper tells Rita in the morning that he did not kill Garza though he should not have known about the murder at this point which makes Rita suspicious.
    • In the finale, Andrea intercepts the faked physical evidence, meaning that the only other person who would've known is the one who planted it - Chad Shelton, who sneers at Hopper for getting away with murder despite his prints on the murder weapon.
  • In-Series Nickname: Damien calls our hero "Hop". He seems okay with it. There's also Hippo.
  • Inspector Javert: Detectives Spivak and Choi, who are investigating the Garza murder and proceed to arrest Hopper for the crime the conspiracy framed him for. Choi proves to be more reasonable than his partner however, and actually helps Hopper after Hopper saved his life in one loop. Spivak hated Hopper's father and is prejudiced against the son. In addition, he seems to be involved with the conspiracy, which is subverted — Shelton planted the evidence.
  • Institutional Apparel: Hopper sports a flashy red/orange jumpsuit in county jail and Rita likes to run around in her ruby nurse outfit all day long.
  • Internal Affairs: Chad Shelton is an obstructive internal affairs agent who dislikes Hopper because Hopper's girlfriend Rita is Shelton's ex-wife, pretty much accusing Hopper of "stealing" her. He also has some leverage over Hopper's partner and proves to be at least a bit corrupt as well, having previously covered up a crime committed by Rita to protect her brother, and turns out to have forged the evidence used to convict Hopper of the Garza murder for his own reasons.
  • Internal Reveal: It's not as earth-shattering as it would be on some shows since they'll just forget the next day, but it's still dramatic when Hopper admits he's experiencing a time loop to anyone, who inevitably thinks he's crazy. The first time it's to Rita after they've already been attacked in episode 2. The second time it's to Chad of all people in episode 5 - although the SWAT team has already wired the place so EVERYONE gets to overhear and conclude he's completely lost his mind.
  • It's All About Me: Chad accuses Hopper of demonstrating this trope in hostage episode 5.
    Chad: It's just so you. Basically, the whole world, the very concept of time, revolves around Brett Hopper, 'cause you're so special. Man, and people say I got an ego.
  • It's the Journey That Counts: The case at hand helps Hopper to reconnect with his estranged sister while also teach him a lesson about trust in relationships.
  • It Was Here, I Swear!: When Hopper wants to show the police the dead body in the bath tub above his apartment. It's gone by the time they get there.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Apparently, Buchalter and Fencik obtained access to Hopper's apartment by posing as plumbers.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Wow, that Chad Shelton isn't such a bad guy after all, right? Wrong. Chad framed Hopper for murder because he was bitter about losing his ex-wife.
  • Jitter Cam: Used a lot in action sequences.
  • Karma: A surprisingly major theme for a show with constant Reset Button presses. In the order the Karma trope description summarizes the concept:
    • The Arc Words about "decisions...consequences" is basically point 1.
    • The interconnectedness of police work, personal issues, Brett, the people around him, past, and future is essentially what the show explores every day.
    • When Brett has a particularly positive or negative breakthrough on one day, the "universe" changes the events of the day on future repetitions to reflect it.
    • Hopper already resists abusing the Reset Button because it's simply wrong, but he must protect everyone from danger and avoid the callousness of despair for the day to resolve as it is supposed to.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Barry Colburn has been leading the entire conspiracy through his front man Booth. His distance from the whole affair means that the dismantlement of the organization doesn't affect him in the slightest. Hopper figures Colburn's place in the thing out by the end but can't obtain any actionable evidence beyond suspicions, so Hopper can only warn Colburn that it's not over yet.
    • Chad Shelton is arrested when his role in the conspiracy is brought to light, but he subsequently escapes, possibly as part of a Sequel Hook.
    • Another scene of "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue shows Garza's murderer and several other hitmen in the prison van with concealed pistols and ready to kill their guards.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Torrez. Damien shots him and his last words to Hopper are:
    Torrez: El Llorón... He's not the... (Torrez dies)
  • Kinda Busy Here: Over and over again. Early on, it's his response to Andrea who wants his backup with her Internal Affairs problem, before realizing he's being fingerprinted and arrested for murder.
  • Laser Sight: Used extensively at the end of Hostage Situation episode 5, where Hopper leaves the office with Chad and is pointed at by millions of red laser lights.
  • Last-Name Basis: Noticeably used when Chad talks to Hopper, when in reverse it's the opposite. Possibly shows that Chad wants to keep Hopper at arm's length despite a complicated history between them.
  • Mama Didn't Raise No Criminal: During one of the repeating days Hopper visits his mother's home to further the investigation by digging up information on his dead father. When she chastises him for not visiting her more often he explains that he's too busy at the moment since he's wanted for murder in Los Angeles, although he didn't actually do it. Her response? "Well of course — I didn't raise a murderer!"
  • The Man Behind the Man: The thugs targeting Hopper are commanded by the ominous "Man from the Quarry". We learn his name — Conrad Detweiler — only several episodes later. Then he is heard taking orders from somebody else — Tobias Booth. Who in one episode even executes him for allegedly leaking information to Hopper.note  But Booth is actually subordinate to Barry Colburn, who is the ultimate leader of the conspiracy. Hopper eventually learns the truth, but Colburn is actually so high up in the criminal chain that all his tracks are covered and Hopper can't do anything about him, so he remains a free man.
  • Meaningful Echo
    • "For every decision, there is a consequence. Decisions.....consequences....."
    • "We need to know how serious you are." The hostage negotiator repeating this phrase, originating from the man in the quarry, seems to indicate he's in on the conspiracy, and is ready to witness Hopper's "payment" for the safety of his loved ones.
  • Meaningful Name: Hippo is The Big Guy.
  • Mexican Standoff: At the nightclub in episode 9, when the owner and his gang is confronted by Damien and his men. Then Hopper joins the standoff as a third party.
  • Mistaken for Foreigner: Deliberately mistaken for a "fake" or non-American when one of the skinheads asks if Detective Choi's first name, Chris, is "supposed to make him sound more American".
  • Moral Dissonance: Hopper is a police officer, and specifically tells Uncle Nick, his father's killer that "there's always a choice" while declining to shoot him...then chooses to let a criminal murder him moments later.
  • Narrating the Obvious: Played for Laughs when Hopper is so shocked at the first change to the day that he starts doing this.
    Hopper: The phone's ringing!
    Rita: Yeah, they do that.
  • Nice Guy: Detective Choi is the only person in the whole cast with no secrets or agenda. He follows Spivak's lead investigating Hopper for the Garza murder, but also pushes back when the evidence seems fishy and is basically just a solid police officer trying to do the right thing.
  • Noiseless Walker: Hippo sneaks up on Hopper once or twice.
    Hippo: I wouldn't do that.
    Hopper: Damn! You know, for a big dude, you're pretty light on your feet, Hippo.
  • Oblivious Mockery: A minor example when Rita says that it looks like "somebody butchered you" when she herself treated Hopper for a wound in a previous iteration of the loop.
  • Off Bridge, onto Vehicle: Hopper jumps from a footbridge onto a moving metro to escape his pursuers.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Sometimes a scene will play a little longer on a later repetition of the day, revealing more information. Most dramatically, in episode 11, we see the first few minutes of the morning from Rita's perspective the second time around, which explains how the small change Brett caused created a chain reaction that significantly changed the day.
  • One Degree of Separation: Hopper's friends, family, lover, enemies, his entire life is relevant to the murder of Alberto Garza.
  • One Phone Call: Hopper demands one at LAPD after being arrested for murder in early episodes. Usually he calls Baxter, who recommends him Colburn. In other episodes Damien Ortiz calls Hopper.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Hippo.
  • Opening Narration: After the title card in each episode after the first, Hopper explains the gist of the Frame-Up murder plot and "Groundhog Day" Loop during a montage. This part is about the same every time. Then he smoothly transitions into a Previously On… summary as the montage continues, and concludes with what his goals currently are for the day.
  • Pet the Dog: Played with. At the end of the Hostage Situation, the erstwhile dickish and obstructive Chad throws Hopper (who has been taken into custody) a bone, telling him not to bother searching Chad's office in the next loop because he can find the file that Hopper needs in Chad's parked car. However, Chad probably thinks Hopper is insane, making the gesture meaningless. Either that, or he taunts him with the whole hostage mess being avoidable.
  • Plot Armor: Hopper is the only one vulnerable to Final Death in the first place since everyone else always resets with the time loop. However, since the Big Bads want him alive as the fall guy for their plot to frame him for murder, his biggest risk is usually getting captured (and forced to watch loved ones murdered) rather than killed himself.
  • Police Lineup: At LAPD, Hopper's landlord Mr. Zeitoun identifies Buchalter and Fencik as the false plumbers using this method.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Both Garza and Jane Doe in the photograph sport tiny head entry wounds.
  • Professional Killer: Miguel Dominguez aka "El Llorón" ("The Crying Man") is the contract killer who murdered Assistant District Attorney Alberto Garza, for which Hopper is framed. He's normally incarcerated, but he has an agreement with the corrupt authorities to release him occasionally so he can take out people whenever his employers want him to.
  • Punk in the Trunk: The footage we see of Rita trying to dispose of her dad when Buchalter pulls her over and makes her open the trunk of the car.
  • Race Against the Clock: In the finale, when the day finally turns into "tomorrow", Hopper's first panicked thought is to ask what time it is, since the fateful judge's meeting is scheduled for that morning. A Downplayed Trope since he turns out to be able to get Andrea to intercept the hit squad and catch up with Chad himself without too much trouble.
  • Ransacked Room: Hopper's place has been searched and vandalized. Happens also to his sister's place in episode 4.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Detective Choi, especially later in the story. He is the only one at LAPD believing in Hopper's innocence. He calls Spivak out on his narrow-mindedness and helps out with Hopper's investigation.
  • Red Herring Mole: Detective Spivak (played by Mitch Pileggi) is one of the homicide detectives assigned to the Garza case, and unlike his more reasonable partner seems a bit too eager to nail Hopper for the murder he's been framed for. When Hopper finds out that the ballistics report was falsified, he suspects that Spivak is responsible and is part of the conspiracy. This is reinforced by Spivak's involvement in the corruption investigation. Not only is Spivak not responsible, it turns out to have nothing to do with the conspiracy and was merely an act of revenge by Internal Affairs agent Chad Shelton, who was still bitter over his wife Rita leaving him and becoming involved with Hopper.
  • Red Herring: Jared seems to be part of the solution to the looping problem but he is not seen again after episode 7. He comes back though as the Mysterious Watcher at the very end.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Trying to sneak into the backdoor of Garza's mansion, Hopper is confronted by a cop securing the crime scene. Hopper then flashes his own badge and puts the cop straight for not checking the door for forced entry. The distraction works and Hopper gets away unchallenged.
  • Reset Button: Enforced by Hopper's "Groundhog Day" Loop, often bringing killed characters back to life. However since he can't control it and has no idea why it's happening, he hates depending on it, especially for his loved ones. Also frustrating is that nobody he confides in or needs to work with will remember any progress previously made.
    • Oddly, another aspect of the show resets - the title cards numbering the days always start over at "Day 1" at the beginning of every episode, even though later episodes are already many days into the time loop.
  • Revealing Continuity Lapse: At the end of the aptly named "What if He Can Change the Day?", Hopper's now well-worn morning routine is interrupted by his phone ringing with good news from Andrea, and he stares at it in shock like it's never done anything like that before, leading to much confused teasing from Rita. But the day CAN change due to actions from the previous one.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: When Rita exasperatedly asks what Chad is doing at the hospital.
    Chad: Can't a guy stop by, check on his ex-wife?
    Rita: No!
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Only Hopper retains memories of earlier days. Occasionally, due to specific actions by Hopper, other characters might get a hint of a ripple, but only a hint.
  • Saved by the Platform Below: Two mooks fetch Hopper and throw him from a rooftop. Then the camera pans down to show him having safely landed on top of the building's entrance canopy.
  • Save Scumming: It's a "Groundhog Day" Loop, so this is obvious. However, it's subverted in some ways as well.
    • Hopper occasionally mutters things like "I'll get there before [a past event] tomorrow" or "I've gotta do better with that next time", to the confusion of whoever he's with.
    • A distinct example: Hopper needs several days to convince the prison warden in San Francisco to let him see Dominguez, trying various forms of bluffing, intimidation, and name-dropping along the way, often gleaning a scrap of information he can use on the next try.
    • Subversion: It turns out people can change slightly from loop to loop. They may not remember what you did, but they're still pissed at you. And if you do something good for them, they still feel grateful.
    • Another subversion: Injuries are carried through the "reset", but only for Hopper. Being shot in an early iteration locks him out of several more, as he keeps losing his stitches every time he loops.
  • Saying Too Much: Hopper asks his landlord to avoid letting in the police searching for him. The man stalls briefly, but when directly asked where Hopper is blurts out "I think he's taking care of the dead man in the tub" when he can't think of another excuse. To be fair, Hopper didn't really explain why he should lie to the cops.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The first thing Hopper does when he becomes aware of the temporal loop is not to fight the conspiracy that is trying to frame him but to take his loved ones and just run away from everything. It doesn't work, as he wakes up back at Rita's place when the daytime converges. He has to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
    • A darker variation occurs when Hopper just gives up on solving anything, having accomplished everything he thought he could and still not escaping the loop. He eventually finds that even a succession of vacations to other cities and countries is not enough to truly escape what's happening.
  • Self-Made Orphan:
    • Hitman Miguel Dominguez was originally locked up for killing his own parents. It's later revealed that he did this to protect his sister from their abusive father.
    • This parallels what happened to Rita and Billy. She killed her dad with a flashlight before he could beat her brother to death.
  • Sequel Hook: For both the A plot and B plot. Though Barry Colburn is revealed as the Big Bad behind the Garza murder, the waves of arrests and suicides following Hopper's victory passes him right by without damaging any of his assets or capabilities... but between those deaths and the prestige Hopper gained from the arrests, he'll be Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department within weeks, with all the assets he needs for a drawn-out war with Colburn. Also, several hitmen and Chad manage to escape. Colburn and Hopper share a few pointed words as to how It Has Only Just Begun before Hopper leaves to go to the final confrontation with Uncle Nick. As for the time loops? The final shot of the series is Jared Pryor looking at Hopper meaningfully despite having given him a clean miss on the final iterations of the day.
  • Sequencing Deception: Twice.
    • Hopper tries calling Chad repeatedly with a life-and-death warning, and Chad pointedly ignores his calls. When the moment comes, the two are both ready for it, since Chad ended up picking up the call after all, off camera.
    • After setting up a Race Against the Clock, the judges are shown meeting, while a prison van full of criminals unloads a crate of assault rifles in the courthouse hallway. Instead of bursting in on the defenseless judges, they find themselves in an empty room, and are then swarmed by a SWAT team led by Andrea, who Hopper tipped off beforehand.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: This seems to be the reason for the loop. Illustrated early on by the bus accident.
  • Shame If Something Happened: Detweiler shows Hopper the footage of Rita being assassinated. Then he reminds Hopper of what could happen to his sister and her children if he didn't play along and confess to Garza's murder.
    • Hopper returns this thread against Detweiler's family when he tracks down and confronts him in episode 6.
  • Short Runner: 13 episodes, 7 didn't air.
  • Shower of Love: Happens in the pilot between Hopper and Rita but is defied by Hopper in later loops because he can't be wasting time in the morning.
  • Shrine to the Fallen: The mother of Jane Doe kept her daughter's room the same way for all those 15 years since the murder. Plot point as it helps Hopper to find leads to who her murderer was.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Hopper gets a lot of these. Though to be fair, most of the time he already knows what the bad guy is going to say.
  • Soft Glass: Averted. In the pilot episode, Brett throws a guy into a glass display case. In a later scene set a few hours later, we are told that "they're still picking the glass out of his back" at the hospital.
  • Status Quo Is God: Oddly averted given the "Groundhog Day" Loop premise. Since the focus is on Hopper's investigations into all the many aspects of the conspiracy, and his foreknowledge of certain events allows him to control the flow of the day in many ways, the show is quite serialized.
  • Suicide for Others' Happiness: Chad suggests this as a possible solution to Hopper's failure to end the loop and the misery he causes to his loved ones. Foreshadowing that he's part of the conspiracy, as he truly does want Hopper dead for getting into a relationship with his ex-wife. Then again, Hopper's been holding him at gunpoint telling insane stuff for hours.
    Chad: I've got a solution. If everyone you care about is in trouble because of you, why don't you take yourself out of the equation?
    Hopper: What are you talking about?
    Chad: Kill yourself. Seems to me if you die, everyone else will be fine.
  • Sympathy for the Hero: For once Hopper gets Chad to push aside his Jerkass tendencies for a moment when he yells at him to consider what it feels like to watch Rita killed, multiple times, as the villains repeat their scheme day after day.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: When Jared asks Hopper to give him his arm, he suddenly bites it and starts shouting "I told you, we taste the same! We all taste just like chicken!"
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!
  • This Is My Name on Foreign: Damien speaks for the victim of a cold case murder by pointing out the "Jane Doe" looks "more like a Juanita to me".
  • Time Loop Fatigue: Explored heavily. Hopper is noticeably more worn down by the end of the season, sometimes commenting on it pretty directly, other times just acting cranky at the monotony, and at one point nearly crossing the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble: Brett often ran into this whenever he tried to explain the "Groundhog Day" Loop to another character.
    Chad: When did I say this?
    Brett: Today.
    Chad: Wait, how many todays ago?
    Brett: Yesterday.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Damien Ortiz, Hopper's confidential informant, is an unapologetic criminal. He's got a reasonably honorable streak in him, and we see him at a niece's quinceanera, but he also murders people right in front of Hopper multiple times, often without trying very hard to be sure if they deserve it or not. His goons also turn out to be the culprits in the murder of an innocent bystander he's investigating.
    Unusually, Taye Diggs is a bit inscrutable as to Hopper's take on the guy. He never tries to come down on Damian very hard. But the reason why could range from basically being willing to live with everything he does, and continuing to work with him - to knowing that he's powerless on that day, but planning consequences later on for crossing the line. Given that Damien is the trigger man for the Do with Him as You Will situation in the finale, it might tend toward the former.
  • Tracking Device: Buchalter and Fencik plant a device under Hopper's car so they won't lose track of him. When Hopper finds out, he sends them on a Wild Goose Chase.
  • Train Escape: Hopper fools his pursuers by stepping onto a train but somehow being able to exit the car and hide in the subway tube.
  • Traitor Shot: This is heavily played up in the first half of the finale as a subversion for Red Herring Mole Spivak. Then again, he tends to look kind of traitorous half the time anyway.
  • Trauma Button: Hopper's given a big one in the first iteration of the time loop when he is shown video of Rita being killed. On future days, any time someone questions why he's in such a hurry or why he's so worried, he flashes back to that moment. It even has its own sad theme music. It's probably at its worst when Rita herself asks "do you have any idea how that feels?" about almost losing Hopper himself.
  • Trust Password: At San Francisco's prison, Hopper mentions Detweiler's Catchphrase "Decisions.. Consequences." to gain the warden's trust.
  • Twisted Echo Cut: Hopper's "you're gonna want to sit down for this" cuts to Andrea telling the Internal Affairs guy "I'm not sitting down" [for an interrogation].
  • Unfinished Business: The A plot is a murder mystery, complicated/enabled by the B plot — the "Groundhog Day" Loop. It's implied by the description of Jared Pyror's illness that humans can become "trapped" in loops due to Unfinished Business. Once Jared was made completely aware of his confusion, his loops ended. Hopper had to face the complications of his entire screwed-up life before he could move on to the next day.
  • The Unsolved Mystery: What caused Hopper to repeat his day over and over?
  • Vacation Episode: Episode 11, with Hopper and Rita at Las Vegas and Mexico. It soon gets boring for Hopper.
  • Van in Black:
    • In the pilot, when Hopper is on an Overt Rendezvous with his partner Battle, it turns out he was set up. Hopper realizes this when he notices a couple suspicious people and a white surveillance van parked nearby.
    • Also Buchalter and Fencik are spying on Hopper from their black sedan.
  • Verbal Backspace:
    Fencik: Is he talking to us?
    Buchalter: Nah. No way he made us.
    Fencik: No, he's definitely talking to us.
    Buchalter: Yup.
  • The Villain Knows Where You Live: Detweiler leaves no doubt about this when showing Hopper the footage of Rita being shot and then adding images of his sister's family.
  • Wake Up Fighting: Jared, when Hopper wakes him up after he blacked out on the hotel room floor.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: Hopper gets knocked unconscious in county prison and wakes up Bound and Gagged at the rock quarry, where he is told to confess to Garza's murder.
  • Weapon for Intimidation: Turns out Hopper's gun that he used to keep Chad hostage with was not loaded.
  • Wham Line: I'm sorry I bit you.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: If Margo isn't hit by a bus, she is kidnapped, brought to a warehouse and tortured to make courthouse passes to massacre judge Nitzberg and the jury. On the last day Hopper stopped the bus, but forgot about the warehouse. Did they kill her, keep her or let her go?
    • Partially averted for Rita's brother. In Episode 12 we find we was being blackmailed, because he violated the law and it was his "third strike". Every time Rita refused to testify against Brett, i.e. several times per episode, her brother got killed. In the last days Brett tells Rita to tell Billy to get out of town. He lives, his blackmailer dies, but the third strike is still hanging over him.
  • White Shirt of Death: Although he didn't die, Hopper got shot while wearing a white shirt in his car on the way to Rita's mother. The blood is very noticeable.
  • Wild Goose Chase: Hopper sends Buchalter and Fencik offtrack by disposing their Tracking Device in a garbage truck.
  • Win Your Freedom: Miguel Dominguez was let out temporarily so that he could commit a murder.
  • Worms Eye View: Hopper is shot this way at least twice, but both times with even larger buildings looming behind or around him. Once he is in a church, with the ornate high ceiling and wall furnishings captured above him. Another is in the finale, filmed from steps below and framing him against the backdrop of the courthouse behind him. Both times, we get the sense that he's in the middle of something far bigger than himself - but at the same time, he's made to look like he's got the strength to face the world if he has to, as is typical for this shot.
  • Worst Aid: Rita using her skills to remove the bullet from Brett's chest.
  • Worthy Opponent: At the end, the mastermind behind the conspiracy takes his organization's defeat in stride and seems to admire Hopper in some odd way although Hopper can't pin anything on the guy himself. He even throws Hopper a bone by revealing his father's killer despite standing nothing to gain from it.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Brett feels this way about all the death after his sister is killed in one loop, saying "they always die...I can't stop it". Of course, his goal for the loop is to avert this trope after all.
  • You No Take Candle: Hopper's landlord Mr. Zeitoun phrases his Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking perp identification this way (see quote above).
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Hopper believes that clearing his name would end the loop. He is devastated when achieving this goal and still waking up the same morning. So after a short period of despair he investigates further. Turns out he has to bring down everybody connected with the Garza murder before the curse is over.

"Remember, for every decision, there's a consequence."

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