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Series / Deadly Class

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And you thought your high school was deadly.

Deadly Class is a TV series that aired on Syfy from January to March of 2019, based on the comic book of the same name by Rick Remender and produced by The Russo Brothers.

At Kings Dominion Academy, kids from all walks of life learn important life skills, like the best poison to use if you want to make a statement, or the best way to dispose of a body. When Marcus is accused of killing the kids at a boys' home, he attracts the attention of the school's headmaster, Mr. Lin, who gives him a scholarship. There's just one problem - Marcus never actually killed anyone.

It only lasted one season and was cancelled in June 2019.


This series contains examples of:

  • The '80s: The pilot starts sometime in 1987 and it contains all the trappings right down to Marcus's Mushroom Samba bringing him into an encounter with Ronald Reagan giving him a brief "I told you so" lecture.
  • Academy of Adventure: Kings Dominion, naturally: a high school where the next generation of assassins and killers are trained in the deadly arts.
  • Academy of Evil: Kings Dominion is a hotbed of anarchists, gangbangers, gangsters, white supremacists, and outcasts, all being trained in the art of killing people.
  • Accidental Murder: Willie accidentally shot his father in the head while shooting at some gangbangers who broke into their house.
  • Action Girl: The female characters are mainly skilled, trained fighters. Given they're students or teachers at an assassins school or gangsters, it makes sense.
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  • Adaptation Expansion: Several plot points from the show (Billy's crush on Petra, the Legacy dance, Denke going rogue, and Lin's conflict with his sister Gao) are not present in the original comic.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the comics, Master Lin is utterly devoted to Kings Dominion's teachings, and will kill anyone who steps out of line. On the show, however, when ordered by his superiors to kill Denke for wanting to resign, he can't bring himself to do it.
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: All of the Asian characters on the show are capable martial artists. This is justified by the fact that all are either students or teachers at an assassins school or seasoned gangsters.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Billy has a crush on Petra, but she's not interested. Though they do have a touching moment after the ruined Legacy dance.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: In "Mirror People", a pair of Yakuza assassins assault Kings Dominion in order to abduct Saya, killing everyone in their way.
  • The Apunkalypse: Discussed by Marcus with the punk kids, and he says it's because they already predict dystopia, so that it makes sense they would be prepared in such stories.
  • Arrow Catch: Saya does this in "Stigmata Martyr" when Maria shoots an arrow at her and Marcus to stop them from kissing.
  • Art Shift:
    • Flashback sequences are rendered in an animated style similar to that of the comics.
    • Marcus' intense acid-induced hallucination sequence moves through a variety of styles in quick succession.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • In the first episode, the Dark Arts students are given the assignment to kill someone who deserves to die. Marcus and Willie choose to off Rory, a homeless guy who's been murdering other homeless people.
    • Viktor unknowingly ingests a laxative and is forbidden from going to the bathroom by the poison lab's teacher as he feels it kicking in as revenge for breaking Billy's arm earlier.
    • A legacy student named Jaden tricks Billy into having his fingers pinned in a mousetrap. Later, Marcus dumps the 'Mellow Yellow' hallucinogenic poison on him, and in the next episode, Jaden is killed by Yakuza hitmen.
    • Chico is a violent bully and coldblooded killer who constantly abuses his girlfriend and threatens anyone who even remotely seems likely to take her away from him. As such, it's hard to feel bad when Maria ultimately kills him, especially since it's right after he's just killed an innocent bystander and gut-stabbed Billy, and is preparing to kill Marcus.
  • Attention Whore: Chester Fuckface, full stop. His whole rampage was about becoming famous in the deranged belief that he would become loved if he became a celebrity.
  • Birds of a Feather: Marcus and Professor Denke both blame Reagan for all of society's ills in general and their personal tragedies in particular, and bond over discussing it.
  • Black Bra and Panties: Maria, Saya and Petra it turns out have black lingerie. All of them are also enticing young women soon shown willing to have casual sex. In the latter two cases, this is shown right before engaging in some (or nearly so, with Petra's case, which would have been two guys).
  • Blofeld Ploy: The first episode has Brandy pass a threatening note to Marcus. Lin appears to be preparing to discipline Marcus for it, only to casually whack Brandy with his cane and break her nose.
  • Boom, Headshot!:
    • Chico kills a man this way in front of Maria, both because his father apparently wanted the man dead, and because he wanted to make a point to Maria.
    • This is how Willie accidentally killed his father.
    • In "Kids of the Black Hole", Shu Lin takes a bullet to the head from one of Diablo's goons.
    • Shu, Mr. Lin's wife, is killed by a shot to the head from cartel boss El Alma Del Diablo.
  • Boxed Crook: The professor of Psychopathy is a real, honest-to-God serial killer, the Scorpio Slasher. He is apparently so dangerous that he's kept confined to a wheelchair, with a guard with a cattle prod hanging around him at all times to stop him from touching the students. Later, Marcus and Saya let him out of his cell in exchange for his help tracking down Fuckface.
  • Brand X: In "Saudade", the Big Top Big Top Hotel where the gang stays is an obvious stand-in for the legendary Circus Circus Las Vegas.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Mr. Lin uses a mook as a human shield while escaping the cartel as his house. It works to stop several bullets.
  • Butt-Monkey: Shabnam is constantly bullied, and his house gets utterly wrecked by the other students during the party he's talked into hosting.
  • Canon Foreigner: Master Lin's sister Madame Gao was not present in the comic series.
  • The Cartel:El Alma Del Diablo runs part of his cartel. In Kings Diamond there are aslo the Soto Vatos, a gang of cartel kids.
  • Cliffhanger: The series ends on one with its plot lines unresolved due to the show's cancellation.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Taught in the Atypical Combat Skills class. Marcus is one due to a lack of formal training and living on the streets. He uses anything he can get his hands on as a weapon during his fights and prefers to start them with sneak attacks.
  • Companion Cube: Chico's severed head ends up becoming this for Fuckface, who imagines it talking to him.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: This is mentioned by Master Zane after the students fight ninjas as a test, noting real ones won't politely attack one person at a time.
  • Conveniently an Orphan:
    • Marcus lost both of his parents when a suicidal schizophrenic woman landed on them after jumping to her death.
    • Maria's family was slaughtered by Chico's father, who took her in and trained her to become an assassin for the cartel.
    • Shabnam's parents are both killed during the Fuckface arc.
  • Covert Group with Mundane Front: The entrance to Kings Dominion is hidden in a diner.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Chico is overly possessive of Maria and threatens Marcus for simply talking to her.
  • Cuddlebug: Whenever she's high or off her meds, Maria gets very affectionate. Saya and Marcus are favored targets for her affection.
  • Cult: Petra's parents joined one when she was child, one with apparently Satanic connotations and which declared her father the new messiah.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Damn near everyone has, or is hinted to have, one.
    • Marcus lost both of his parents, then lived in a horrible, abusive orphanage that used him as forced labor along with the other boys until he escapes. It's also implied he may have been sexually abused by his depraved roommate.
    • Maria suffered her family being murdered, and then getting forcibly inducted into the cartel who killed them as she's deemed useful.
    • Petra's father murdered her mother after he joined a cult.
    • Billy suffered years of abuse from his father.
    • Lex's dad took the fall for a robbery which he committed, and is doing his time. He's wracked by guilt over it.
    • Mr. Lin's wife and daughter were killed in a car accident when a drugged up driver hit them.
  • Die or Fly: At Kings Dominion, you either pass or you die. Something made very clear in the second episode, where Lin poisons the AP Dark Arts class and sends them out to find the cure in time as a pop quiz.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Quite literally; Chester is attacked by one of the dogs he tormented.
  • Domestic Abuse: Maria gets a lot abuse from her boyfriend Chico, who is a very jealous partner to her and highly controlling so she won't leave him.
  • Establishing Series Moment: The series opens during Lin's Dark Arts class. Brandy slips Marcus a note and gets her nose broken by Lin for good measure. Marcus stares horrified as instead of being in fear or something more appropriate, the class actually chuckles as if a prank had just been pulled off. Brandy herself doesn't seem bothered by the broken nose and salaciously licks the blood pouring out. Then Lin asks the entire class whom they plan to assassinate.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Mr. Lin, who runs a school for assassins, went on a rampage against his family's killers in the past. He clearly also loves his wife and daughter deeply in the present.
    • El Alma Del Diablo, a vicious cartel boss, swears vengeance on his son Chico's killer with equal fervor.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In "Stigmata Martyr", Master Zane tries to discipline Brandy after she tries to sabotage Saya and Maria during a joint exercise in order to raise her own grade. Unfortunately, Madame Gao overrules him.
  • Facial Horror: The aptly-named Fuckface is heavily disfigured.
  • Fantastic Caste System: At Kings Dominion, students are divided between Legacies (those whose families have influential organized crime or government connections) and Rats (those who come from humbler origins). Furthermore, the Legacies are divided among numerous cliques, who are constantly jockeying for place in the school hierarchy.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Marcus makes use of one against the Yakuza hitmen.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Marcus blames his parents' deaths and the general Crapsack World of late-80s San Francisco on Ronald Reagan, and declares his intentions to assassinate him one day.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: Marcus's dad was from Nicaragua, but his mom was from Kansas, making him a target of both the Soto Vatos and the white supremacists.
  • He Knows Too Much: The reason why teachers at Kings Dominion aren't allowed to resign — there's too much of a risk that they'll expose the school.
  • Heel Realization: His talks with Marcus help Professor Denke realize that the structure at Kings Dominion (specifically how the Legacies are allowed to reign over the Rats) is just reinforcing the social norms he once swore to tear down.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Turns out, while Marcus killed some guards to escape the boys' home, he didn't kill everyone else and burn the building down. He just got blamed for it.
  • Interrupted Intimacy:
    • Marcus and Maria are interrupted when about to have sex by Chico, her boyfriend, angrily coming in.
    • Later he's interrupted again making out with Saya, which seems to be moving toward sex.
  • Jerkass: Lex acts like an abrasive asshole to everyone, even his supposed friends.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Chester is torn apart by one of the dogs he abused.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Justified as Marcus is a homeless kid with only one set of clothes to fall back on after school.
  • Lingerie Scene:
    • Marie is seen a couple times in her underwear. The first time it's red, and the second black.
    • Saya is shown in hers lying beside Marcus the morning after they'd finally slept together.
    • Petra is shown in hers while getting prepared for having a threesome with Billy and Lex, which she calls off later.
  • Love Triangle: Marcus is torn between both Maria and Saya. First he's with Maria. Then he cheats by having sex with Saya. It's unresolved due to the series being canceled.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Both the series' portrayed sex scenes are somewhere else than a bed.
    • Marcus and Maria have sex on a tomb in the school's cemetery.
    • Later, Marcus and Saya have sex outside in the grass.
  • Malevolent Masked Men:
    • "Noise, Noise, Noise" has the pair of oni-masked warriors whom the Dark Arts students have to fight their way past to get the antidote to the poison they've all been exposed to.
    • "Mirror People" has the Yakuza hitmen who attack Kings Dominion, also wearing oni masks.
  • Mistaken for Badass:
    • Marcus is wanted for setting a fire that killed a dozen kids at his orphanage. The Academy leaders naturally assume someone so ruthless is perfect for them. The catch, of course, is that while Marcus did hurt a few guards, he wasn't behind the deaths at all. Marcus quickly realizes that this reputation is all that's keeping him alive and if the other students realized he wasn't this murderous, he'd be easy prey.
    • Willie has never intentionally killed anyone, but has a reputation of being a stone-cold killer. Like Marcus, he needs to maintain his reputation to prevent himself from being killed at Kings Dominion.
  • Mixtape of Love: Marcus makes a mixtape for Maria as a present after they've been secretly dating for a while.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Gabrielle covers herself with the sheet after she sleeps with Willie. He lampshades this by noting he's seen everything, though she replies that it's different after the sex ended.
  • Monster Clown: One of Marcus' hallucinations during his acid trip is of a neon Big Top Big Top clown cheerfully telling him that the acid is going to kill him, and then later creepily saying "I see you" after he and Billy kill Billy's dad.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Maria decides to not help Saya when she's attacked, since they're both into Marcus (whom Maria's dating), hoping it will end in Saya's death. However, she survives, and they get into a fight with Maria attempting to kill her personally.
  • Mushroom Samba:
    • Marcus takes a puff from a joint someone drops and unfortunately realizes too late that it's laced with PCP. It doesn't help that in his stupor, he comes across a Day of the Dead parade to make his trip worse.
    • On the trip to Las Vegas, the group get some LSD and they all are trippy the next day. However, Marcus took seven doses and is massively hallucinating for the entire day. At one point he is hiding under the car, afraid of the mountains. The rest of the day is presented from his view point and it is hard at times to tell what is real and what is one of his hallucinations.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Marcus spends much of the second episode wracked with guilt over killing Rory.
    • In "Kids of the Black Hole", Marcus freaks out after realizing that he had sex with Saya and may have told her that he loves her.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Viktor spends the latter part of the house party running around naked, which everyone finds either hilarious or disturbing.
    Willie: White people.
  • Oh, Crap!: This is Marcus' reaction when he realizes that he had sex with Saya while he was drunk.
  • Only Sane Man: Marcus by virtue of being way out of his element in the school and his reputation for burning down his orphanage blown out of proportion. Turns out Willie isn't so hot on the idea of killing anybody as he considers himself a pacifist and forced to be at Kings Dominion due to his mother's meddling.
  • Operation: Jealousy: Billy tries to gain Petra's attention by flirting with Miss De Luca. It doesn't appear to work.
  • Orphanage of Fear: Marcus escaped from a cruel boys' home where he was tortured and possibly sexually abused.
  • Peking Duck Christmas: Shabnam mentions that his family doesn't do Christmas, but they do go out for Chinese takeout.
  • Perilous Play: In the first season finale , Chester forces Marcus and Shandy to participate in his fake talk show.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Maria, Saya and Petra are light, fairly short girls. They're all quite skillful fighters due to their assassin training. Nonetheless, they have trouble while fighting far larger men tough enough to shrug off many attacks.
  • Potty Failure:
    • Petra and Billy prank Viktor by slipping a laxative in his soda during class, causing him to lose bowel control.
    • In "Kids of the Black Hole", the terrible combination of too much alcohol and a dodgy burrito causes Marcus to crap himself at work.
  • Prom Wrecker: A group of non-legacy students at Kings Dominion try to sabotage the Legacy Ball.
  • Red Shirt: The group sent to detention in "Mirror People" is composed of several of the core characters, and a side character who had few lines in previous episodes named Jaden. Guess who is killed by the Yakuza assassins less than halfway through the episode.
  • Refusal of the Call: Willie refuses to take part in the mission to raid Shabnam's house.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Teachers at Kings Dominion aren't allowed to resign, under penalty of death.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Saya convincing Marcus to come to Kings Dominion gets a whole new extra layer once it's revealed that persuading Marcus was just her homework that day.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Lin lost his wife and child in what was ruled as a brake-line accident. While most people would accept this, Lin goes the extra mile by murdering the driver (revealed to be a drug addict but the extent isn't known), the mechanic that determined that the brakes were fine, and the judge who ruled what Lin considers to be a murder as an accident and/or manslaughter.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: As the "Vegas Crew" plans the assault on Shabnam's house, Willie decides to pack up and leave King's Dominion.
  • Secret Test of Character: Lin knew that most of the AP Dark Arts students would bungle the assassination project. What he really wanted to find out how far they would go to try and complete it.
  • Serious Business: Willie pulls a gun on Marcus when he calls The Dark Phoenix Saga "male fantasy" and "mainstream."
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: When Lin forces him to attend Rory's funeral, Marcus has no problem telling the mourners how awful the guy was. This got him a Spiteful Spit from Rory's daughter who tells him to rot.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Chico wants to make Maria into a good little cartel wife.
  • Take That!: A seemingly double-edged one. Marcus smugly prefers indie comics to the more "mainstream, male fantasy" comics that Willie likes, which prompts Willie to overreact and pull on a gun on Marcus to force him to retract his opinion.
  • Their First Time: Marcus sleeps with Maria and loses his virginity after a long period of unresolved sexual tension.
  • A Threesome Is Hot: Petra proposes she, Billy and Lex all get into one when stuck in lockdown, as she's aware they both find her attractive. The guys spend a long time discussing what position to use so they'll avoid anything conceivably homoerotic though, and by the time it's ready they're released, so Petra calls it off, saying that she's hungry (but really finds their feelings discomforting).
  • To the Pain: Chico promises Maria that while he doesn't intend to kill her, if she crosses him he'll make her wish he had.
  • Viva Las Vegas!: In "Saudade", the main group head to Vegas on a road trip which is a cover for Marcus and Billy killing the latter's father.
  • Warrior Monk: The hall monitors and security staff at Kings Dominion.
  • Wham Episode: "Saudade". The group's trip to Las Vegas is crashed by Chico, who attempts to kill Marcus after catching him in bed with Maria. The resulting confrontation ends with Maria killing Chico to save Marcus. And as the group flees the city, Fuckface is revealed to have witnessed the entire thing.
  • Who Shot JFK?: Apparently Lee Harvey Oswald was an alumnus of Kings Dominion, class of '57.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: In the first episode, Maria uses makeup to make it look like her boyfriend Chico has been beating her in order to con Marcus into fighting him, in the hopes that Marcus will kill him.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Saya gives Billy an unexpected pep talk to help him get the courage to talk to Petra, telling him that he's cute and funny and not a dickhead, and thus a catch.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Petra is dumbfounded when Viktor tries to ask her out.
    Petra: Are you serious?
  • You Need to Get Laid: Saya reluctantly facilitates Marcus' relationship with Maria, because Maria's gone off her meds and keeping her sexually satisfied is the only way to keep her mood swings under control.

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