Fraser: That we care, sir?
Moffat: Exactly, and people don't fear people who care.
Fraser: I'm sorry, sir. I wasn't aware that we wanted the Americans to fear us.
A Buddy Cop Show / Odd Couple, where the Odd Couple is an American detective and a Canadian Mountie. The series lasted from April 1994 to March 1999; a total of 67 episodes in four seasons (Canada, where it aired on CTV, and the rest of the world) or three seasons (in the US, where it was seen on CBS), depending on location.
The Mountie, Constable Benton Fraser, came to Chicago on the trail of the killers of his father; and, "for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture", remained attached as liaison with the Canadian Consulate, working with local detective Ray Vecchio - who, for various reasons having to do with actor availability, is later replaced by Stanley (Raymond) Kowalski. Yes, that is his name (his dad was a fan of Marlon Brando). He even married a woman named Stella, though they had divorced by the time Ray K moved to Chicago.
Cst. Benton Fraser (rhymes with "razor", though Ray V usually pronounces it "Frasier") is the living incarnation of almost every Mountie stereotype ever conceived. He's polite to a fault, can track a man for months across an Arctic waste, fights honorably, doesn't lie, and is almost always impeccably clean, even after climbing out of a sewer. During the first two seasons, he's frequently shown wearing civilian clothes, but during the last seasons, he almost always wears the formal red dress uniform, which in real life is only worn for special public occasions or for publicity.
Ray Vecchio is, in his own way, also the quintessential cynical American cop: from his attitudes and his eating habits, to his clothes and his car.
Ray Kowalski is similar in many ways, but more prone to wear his heart on his sleeve, has a unique manner of speaking ("I'm gonna jump Bogart all over you!").
Rounding out the cast is Diefenbaker, Fraser's half-wolf Canine Companion, who is deaf (but can read lips).
Due South is both a buddy cop comedy and a drama and handles both genres quite well. Fraser and both Rays play well off of one another, and make each other's more exaggerated characteristics work.
It also included some elements of magical realism, most notably Sgt. Bob Fraser (usually called "Fraser Sr.", "Dead Bob", or "OFDM" (for "Our Favourite Dead Mountie") by the fandom), the ghost of Fraser's father. Only Fraser could see and hear his father, unless Fraser Sr. wanted to show himself to someone else (this happened three times—he appeared to his killer, to his wife's killer, and to his best friend from the force), or they were also related to him (happened once). Ray V's dad's ghost also popped up once or twice, and interacted with Fraser Sr once, though he was never a regular character.
Provides examples of:
- Ambiguous Situation: At the end of "Victoria's Secret", it's unclear whether or not Victoria was pointing a gun at Fraser as he tried to jump on her train. The scene has shots from different character's perspectives that show it either way.
- Affectionate Nickname: Fraser is "Benny" to Ray V.
- All a Part of the Job: Fraser is baffled and uncomfortable when his heroics draw media attention. When reporters ask how he feels about having prevented a horrible disaster (in "Red, White, or Blue", referencing the events of "All the Queen's Horses"), all he can come up with is "Fine."
- The Alleged Car: In "The Wild Bunch," the motor-pool car Ray Vecchio is driving due to destroying his beloved Riv in the previous episode.
- And the Adventure Continues: "If we do find his Hand, the reaching-out one, we'll let you know."
- Another Story for Another Time: Fraser's "But that's not important, what is important..."
- Artistic License – Linguistics: in "A Hawk and a Handsaw," Fraser says that the Inuit have over 60 words for snow. (Linguist Geoffrey Pullum estimates that the actual number is around five, roughly the same as in English; however, this might have more to do with settler colonialism and resulting language loss as revealed on a recently unearthed CBC archival recording of an Inuit elder, and that linguists and native speakers don't necessarily agree on what counts as a 'word'.) The trope is somewhat averted in that this is a very widespread myth, but Fraser's character is a stickler for detail who grew up in a part of Canada with a large Inuit population; you'd think he'd have noticed the 50-some-odd missing words for snow, at some point.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "Mountie on the Bounty", Constable Turnbull finds it entirely reasonable that Sergeant Sam Thorn is so enamoured with the idea of the RCMP as a naval force she uses RCMP cadets to build a full-scale replica of the HMS Bounty, complete with cannons, and trains them to sail it. He objects to her adding a naval officer's sword to her uniform.
- Ax-Crazy: Randall Bolt, the crazy White Supremacist terrorist.
- Bad "Bad Acting": Fraser and Ray K., when they realize Ray's apartment has been bugged.
- Bare-Handed Blade Block: In "Seeing is Believing," Fraser catches a knife thrown at him.
- Bash Brothers: In the series finale Detectives Ray Vecchio and Ray Kowalski partner up with each other briefly.
- Beard of Sorrow: In "A Hawk and a Handsaw," Fraser mentions that after his mother died, his father quit shaving for a while.
- Beleaguered Childhood Friend: Fraser's friend Mark Smithbauer, in "The Blue Line".
- Bigger on the Inside: Fraser's closet has all of Canada in it, or at least just his father's new cabin. May not technically count since it's all in Fraser's head. Or is it?
- Bittersweet Ending: The last few minutes of the final episode, when Fraser tells of what happened to those whom he considered as friends. Fraser's voiceover is hated by some fans, who think that not all of the characters got happy endings, and wrote fix-it fanfics with better endings.
- Book Ends: Two for the show as a whole.
- The Pilot Movie has Fraser pursuing the man who killed his father (with help from Ray Vecchio), and the series finale has Fraser pursuing the man who killed his mother (with help from Ray Kowalski)
- The pilot had Fraser starting in the Canadian wilderness and moving to Chicago, and the series finale has Fraser deciding to go back to Canada.
- The Boxing Episode: In "Mountie and Soul"
- Also "Diefenbaker's Day Off," which aired before "Mountie and Soul"
- Brick Joke: In The Deal Fraser mentions a schoolyard bully from his childhood menacing kids with a dead otter. Five episodes later, in Letting Go, a physical therapist is scrutinizing his body for past injuries and discovers an odd scar which he says was caused when he was struck by an otter at age 10.
- British Royal Guards: Constable Benton Fraser would mimic these guards' "statuesque" reputation whenever he stood on guard duty at the Canadian Consulate, as did his junior, Constable Renfield Turnbull in Season 3. Once in season two, when Fraser was stuck in a (metaphoric) well, he sent his half-wolf/half-dog Diefenbaker to get help; Dief patiently waited in front of one unnamed Mountie until his tour was up, at which point he finally barked the news about Fraser to him and said Mountie was able to respond.
- Brother–Sister Incest: A one-sided version occurs in Hunting Season. Fraser is very attracted to Maggie Mackenzie, to the point where he and Ray K become rivals for her affection, until he discovers that she is actually his half-sister.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: The serial bank robber that RayK pursues in "Eclipse".Ray: I don't believe this, you don't remember me.
Bank robber: Hey kid, I robbed a lot of banks.
- Canada, Eh?/Eagleland: The series is a commentary on, and gentle ribbing of, Canadian AND American approaches to policing and life.Bush pilot: You sure they were Americans, eh?
Fraser: They were all wearing new boots, they were driving a Jeep Wrangler, and they carried big guns.
Bush pilot: Americans it is.—"Pilot"
- Career-Revealing Trait: In one episode, Benton is able to tell that the woman he's having dinner with is not a nurse as she claims to be, as the way she sits at the table implies she spends a lot of time at a computer or typewriter, making it more likely that she is a journalist.
- Catchphrase: Quite a long one, too. Starting in season three, whenever someone asks Fraser what he's doing in America (see Once an Episode), he usually responds:Fraser: I first came to Chicago on the trail of the killers of my father; and, for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, I have remained, attached as liaison officer with the Canadian Consulate.
- Often as not, somebody else gives this or some variation as an explanation. "This is Fraser, he first came to Chicago on the trail of the killers of his father, etc."
- Also "Oh dear", whenever anything is about to go wrong, and "thank you kindly".
- Subverted when, in one episode, Fraser complains about the supposed Mountie Motto "We always get our man" - it's actually "Maintiens le droit"note , regardless of what everyone, including his dead father, seems to think.
- Celebrity Paradox: Buck Frobisher's resemblance to "legendary Canadian actor Leslie Nielsen" is remarked upon in "Burning Down the House".
- Chained Heat: Fraser and Inspector Thatcher in All the Queen's Horses and Fraser and RayV in Red, White or Blue.
- Chekhov's (Unloaded) Gun: In the "Pilot," Fraser pulls out his gun in a Chicago bar, then explains that it's empty because he doesn't have a local permit. Later, when his father's killer grabs the gun in a fight and tries to shoot him, it isn't loaded.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Ray V's sister, Francesca ("Frannie") Vecchio, pursued Fraser aggressively—at one point even telling people that they had slept together. (In case simple common sense isn't enough to convince you that they hadn't, Word of God has confirmed it.)
- Inspector Thatcher, though less clingy and more jealous; Francesca never got upset with Fraser for bringing strange women home or working with exotic dancers.
- Ray Kowalski is a male version of this during the finale, when he's so jealous of Fraser's friendship with Ray V.
- Clip Show: "Flash Back." "Red, White Or Blue" is not exactly this trope, but it does contain a significant amount of footage from "All The Queen's Horses" and a few other episodes.
- Cool Car: Vecchio's 1971 Buick Riviera, which kept getting blown up, and later Kowalski's GTO.
- Fraser, in "Victoria's Secret"
- Played for laughs by Francesca in The Deal, where she attempts to pre-emptively confess for a sin she plans to commit (seducing Fraser). The priest, exasperatedly, points out that she can't keep confessing for a sin she never actually commits.
- Inverted in the same episode when Fraser asks the priest what he thought of Don Zuko. His answer, as vague as it is, implies that he has gone to confessional himself for wishing harm upon Zuko.
- Cop Killer: The series begins with the murder of a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman in the wilderness of the Northwest Territories. The plot of the pilot episode centers around his son, Benton Fraser (also a Mountie) , teaming up with a Chicago detective to track down the killer after he crosses the border into the United States. It turns out the killer was hired by another Mountie, a close friend of the Frasers, no less.
- The Coroner: Mort.
- Counting Bullets: Frasier does this once when facing off against an armed opponent. Thatcher, Kowalski and Welsh where apparently counting too but each gives conflicting numbers adding to the confusion.
Fraser: I sharpened my buckle.
- From the episode "A Hawk and a Handsaw":
Ray: You were anticipating cutting your way out of a rubber room?!
Fraser: I've been making calculations based on its thickness, the depth of the existing hole and the reflection of the tonal input as it percusses against my tuning fork.Ray: Where the hell did you get a tuning fork?
- From the episode "Vault":
- Dating Catwoman: For Fraser, Victoria Metcalf ("Victoria's Secret"). Ray V, in "You Must Remember This", has a brief romance that seems to be this trope, but ends up subverted as his love interest turns out to be an undercover agent running a sting, not a thief.
- Dead Person Conversation: With Fraser Sr., very frequently. Ray V also spoke occasionally with the ghost of his own father, though their relationship was much more antagonistic than the Frasers'.
- Deadpan Snarker: Ray V and Sergent Buck Frobisher
- Determinator: Both Fraser and Dief. As the saying goes, they always get their man. On at least one occasion, Fraser has worried that Dief will literally run his paws off rather than give up pursuit.
- Dinner and a Show: Ray V's family.
- Ditch the Bodyguards: The plot of Chicago Holiday.
- Doorstop Baby: "A Cop, a Mountie, and a Baby"
- Drowning Pit: "Vault"
- Elevator Conference: Done once in a while, except Fraser and Ray would use a nearby broom closet, occasionally leading to other people finding them there and being left to draw their own conclusions.
- Embarrassing First Name: Played straight with Stanley Ray Kowalski, who shared his name with the protagonist of A Streetcar Named Desire. Subverted with Fraser, who had an odd first name ("Benton"), but wasn't even remotely embarrassed by it.
- Enhance Button: Averted in "The Blue Line." Vecchio asks a technician to enlarge a frame from a video tape so he can identify a face in a crowd. The technician says it would be pointless because the resolution is too low. Fraser points out that they don't need to identify the man by his face; they just need his seat number, since the suspect almost certainly holds a season ticket. They figure out the seat number by counting rows and seats, rather than 'enhancing'.
- Establishing Character Moment: This is how Benton Fraser is introduced (in a two part introduction) to the audience: first, having established that he's chasing down a criminal on a dogsled in a horrendous blizzard (and that his coworkers think he's crazy), the door bursts open to reveal Fraser, fresh from the blizzard with the fugitive slung over his shoulder, delivering the immortal first line: "That's the last time he'll fish over the limit." However, once that's had a minute to establish itself in everyone's minds, he politely explains to his apoplectic boss that the man was in fact dynamiting the streams with plastic explosive and nitroglycerin, which Frasier has confiscated. Oh yes, and he's donated the resultant four-and-a-half tons of fish to the nearest Native village, who are very happy with the police force about now. Benton Fraser: completely insane, but a hell of a cop.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: Every 1971 Buick Riviera seems to be, though to be fair One of them was rigged with a bomb
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Although they did refer to him by name a few times in The Deal, more often than not, Joey Paducci is referred to as "The Shoemaker".
- Many of the Chicago police officers and people from Fraser's neighborhood will also refer to Fraser in the third person as "The Mountie", though they also just often refer to him by name. Justified, as he really is one of only three or so mounties in Chicago at any given time.
- Extra-Long Episode: "Chicago Holiday" on its first run.
- "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: The plot that sets up the whole show.You're going to shoot a Mountie? They'll hunt you to the ends of the Earth,
- Fair Cop: Fraser almost never looks less than dashingly handsome.
- Constable Maggie Mackenzie is a beautiful Mountie.
- Inspector Margaret Thatcher is another beautiful Mountie who, according to Fraser, looks particularly good in red serge: in "Red, White and Blue", he uses semaphore to tell her that "Red suits you".
- On the American side, both Rays have their physical attributes and admirers
- Family-Friendly Stripper: In the episode 'Body Language' Ray and Fraser tour the city's strip clubs in search of an arsonist but see nothing but lingerie clad dancers.
- Faux Affably Evil: from "All the Queen's Horses," Randall Bolt, the psychopathic White Supremacist terrorist who captures a whole train of Mounties in order to send it into another train full of radioactive fuel rods, who is willing to kill his men, including his girlfriend, all with a broad smile across his face
- Fish out of Water: Fraser had trouble adjusting to life in a bustling city after being a backwoods policeman.
- It is pointed out in the pilot that Fraser had trouble adjusting to life in a small city the one time they assigned him to work in one. If anything, he seems to adapt better to a big city for some reason.
- Inversely, neither of the Rays seem to do so hot themselves when they end up in the Canadian wilderness.
- It gets worse if you know more about mounties, all members of the RCMP are allowed to carry guns in the states
- Why does Fraser only have Canadian currency on him, even if he only gets paid in Canadian money for some reason he could get it converted when he cashes his pay check at the bank. Also becomes funny when you realize mounties (and other Canadian law enforcement) are paid almost twice what American cops make but Fraser keeps borrowing money from Ray.
- Well, yes. Fraser's paid in Canadian, and Chicago people generally don't accept Canadian money. Still leaves the problem of converting it to US dollars, though.
- This may have to do with the fact that it is a lot easier to pay for stuff with American money in Canada than the reverse, but Canadians will still expect to be able to use their own currency in the US
- Genius Ditz: Turnbull, while not an idiot, is not that great at his job. However, he is very good at art, cooking, trivia, and perhaps cleaning. Doesn't help that he's a Cloud Cuckoo Lander to boot.
- Frannie as well. She may not get the jargon right or even understand some basics of policing, but she's good at finding information. Thankfully, that's her job, so she's a step ahead of Turnbull.
- Gentle Giant: the large prisoner who helps out Fraser and Ray in "The Witness" is a variation on this: he's not exactly gentle (we see him throttling a lunchroom attendant when he tells him to move along because he doesn't have any food left), but he does keep the bad guy away because he was impressed with Fraser's courtesy
- Get into Jail Free: A key witness is behind bars and Fraser's partner is jailed for contempt. Fraser gets himself arrested to join them and be in position to protect them. He's such a straight arrow that he can't bring himself to shoplift a candy bar, and his police friends have to plant it on him.
- Go Among Mad People: "Hawk and a Handsaw"
- Going by the Matchbook - A variation in Chicago Holiday, averting the typical Clingy Macguffin quality of plot-important matchbooks.
- Hero Ball: It's the Mountie national sport.
- He's Back!: "The Edge"
- High-Dive Escape: Fraser does one of these on “Mountie on the Bounty” to escape a ship.
- Hollywood Law: On at least two occasions people with vendettas are satisfied when they get the person who killed their loved one to confess in front of a police officer. This ignores the fact that the admissibility of a confession extracted at gunpoint is highly dubious - any competent lawyer could argue that his client was willing to say just about anything if it got his tormentor to put the gun away. On one occasion the person doing this was a police officer and should have known this.
- Hollywood Voodoo: in "Mojo Rising," although they seem to have done their homework fairly well.
- I See Them, Too: Whenever anyone other than Fraser sees his father.
- If My Calculations Are Correct: In "Vault," Fraser begins with "Now, I don’t have the specifications for the door, Ray. But I’ve been making calculations based on its thickness, the depth of the existing hole and the reflection of the tonal input as it percusses against my tuning fork." Several scenes later, after much bickering, he concludes with "That is, providing they maintain a constant rate of drilling."
- Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: Thatcher cuts Fraser's lanyard when she's handing down punishment for Fraser disobeying orders and helping his sister Maggie when she breaks into the consulate.
- Inevitable Waterfall: "North" and "Burning Down the House"
- Informed Self-Diagnosis: "North"
- Interservice Rivalry: The 27th Precinct quickly came to appreciate the frequent presence of Canada's Deputy Liasion Officer but they never worked well with the FBI, and there were problems among the Secret Service, Chicago police and Mexican officials in The Edge.
- Intimate Healing: Fraser tells a story (twice) about how he found Victoria freezing to death on a mountain, and shared body heat with her so that they could both survive.
- Jerkass: Frank Zuko, who manages to be an extortionist mafia don Smug Snake who cheats at basketball who has the gall to act like a Knight Templar. And the two FBI agents.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ray Vecchio, who doesn't always make the best first impression, but dearly loves his mother, his sister, the rest of his family and his best friend Fraser, and has demonstrated that he's a caring person at times to others.
- Joke Name Tag: A store security guard has a "Niffug, C. M." name tag, which is conveniently shown in a mirror. Viewers who know their film history will spot this as a Shout-Out to Hitchcock.
- Jurisdiction Friction: Though maybe because the two Feds sent were incompetent jerkasses
- Karma Houdini: Victoria is a borderline case. On the one hand she escaped scot-free after framing Ray and Fraser for murder and theft and putting Fraser's life in danger in order to launder some of the money to get diamonds, and Fraser still tried to go with her, on the other she's now a wanted criminal for the same murder and theft, she lost all of the money and got none of the diamonds, and Fraser didn't go with her (admittedly because Ray accidentally shot him).
- Knight Templar: Frank Zuko pretends to be one, claiming that everything he does is in service to his neighborhood, as opposed to his extortion business
- Knight Templar Big Brother: One episode revolves around Fraser and Ray K solving a murder that may very well have been committed by Ray V. The reason they think Ray V might have done it? The dead guy is implied to have tried to rape Frannie.
- Land Mine Goes "Click!": in the episode "The Edge".
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: In the episode "Flashback", Fraser loses his memory. He can't remember who he is, his personal history, or his manners. When Ray tells Fraser about himself, Fraser thinks he sounds like a moron.
- Funny Moments: Fraser confronted with the unfurnished apartment in which he and his half-wolf sleep on the floor: "Why do I live like this? Am I being punished?"
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the episode "A Hawk and a Handsaw," when someone asks Fraser how a mountie came to live in Chicago, he replies that it's a long story which takes exactly two hours to tell (i.e., the length of the pilot). In the episode "Vault," Ray remarks, "In the last two years you’ve risked our lives 24 times," (i.e., the number of episodes to that point in the series).
- Literary Allusion Title: The title of the Christmas episode "The Gift of the Wheelman" is a reference to O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi. In case the reference wasn't clear, the opening shot also includes a store called "O. Henry's Gift Shop."
- Also, the wheelman in question is one William Sydney Porter.
- Locked in a Freezer: "They Eat Horses, Don't They?"
- In a variation, We are the Eggmen, Fraser and Inspector Thatcher get locked in an incubator.
- Lonely Bachelor Pad: Lampshaded repeatedly. Constable Fraser's apartment is not only in a run-down apartment building in a bad neighborhood (Detective Vecchio claims that drug dealers are afraid to go there), but it is also very sparsely furnished. In one episode, where Fraser is suffering from Easy Amnesia, he sees his apartment and wonders if he was living like that as punishment for something he had done.
- Machiavelli Was Wrong: The Deal, After Zuko gives his Breaking Speech to Fraser about how people respect him, Fraser points out that there is a difference between being respected and being feared. That is to say, fear can be overcome. By the end of the episode, after Ray Vecchio beats Zuko senseless in his own gym, Zuko suddenly finds that he is no longer respected or feared. This has consequences in the next season of the show.
- MacGuffin: In "Chicago Holiday", with copious lampshading. Another, less heavily lampshaded reference is provided in "An Invitation To Romance.
- Magic Realism: Throughout (see Spirit Advisor), but also in such episodes as "Heaven and Earth", where a homeless man's clairvoyant powers appear to be genuine.
- Malaproper: Francesca Vecchio is constantly misquoting typical police jargon (for instance, saying "broiling" rather than "grilling" a suspect). In "Mountie On the Bounty," this is weaponized, as a suspect finally cracks after listening to her do it constantly for minutes on end
- Meaningful Name: A maid who accidentally throws away a matchbox central to the plot is named Mrs. MacGuffin. Later, we see that store security guard "Niffug, C M"note pockets the same box.
- Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Fraser once talks Ray V into ticketing a guy who had parked in the fire lane. A little later they find out that the trunk of the illegally parked vehicle is full of guns.
- On at least two occasions Fraser brings in a guy on a charge that while technically true, is a mild description of the actual crime (a man who was dynamite fishing for 'fishing over the limit (by 4 tons)', and a man who was illegally dumping hazardous waste for 'littering').
- Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize: Actually discussed by Vecchio in "They Eat Horses Don't They" when talking about one of the suspects, who he insists looks like an actor who is always cast as the villain in TV shows. Fraser is somewhat annoyed when this works.
- Never Win the Lottery: in "We Are The Eggmen".
- New Old Flame: Ray V has Irene Zuko ("Juliet is Bleeding"); Fraser has Victoria Metcalf ("Victoria's Secret").
- Noble Savage: Quinn subverts this trope in Easy Money, portraying himself in this manner and then commenting to Fraser "I've been getting into this native roots and it seems to work. Besides, I thought the Tonto act might impress that little jackass." But he also embodies the trope, as he was a very formative mentor to Fraser and he does the right thing in the end.
- Noodle Incident: Directly invoked in "Mountie on the Bounty" between Inspector Thatcher and Sergeant Sam Thorn.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: All of the Haitians in "Mojo Rising" speak with essentially American accents.
- The actor who played Kowalski is Canadian, and his Canadian accent is very noticeable at times, even though his character is supposed to be a native Chicagoan.
- Not So Remote:
- In the Cold Open of "A Likely Story", Fraser and Ray seem to be out camping in the woods; it's quickly revealed that they're actually in a city park in the middle of Chicago.
- In "The Call of the Wild", Fraser is out on a lake, attempting to ice fish but getting no bites. The snowy hills that can be seen surrounding the lake appear heavily wooded. Then Ray shows up.Benton Fraser: Ice fishing takes patience.
Ray Kowalski: Yeah. Well, you gonna need a lot of that, Fraser, cause there ain't no fish in here.
Benton Fraser: How do you know that, Ray?
(the camera zooms out to show the Chicago skyline)
Ray Kowalski: Cause it's the city reservoir. Drinking water, no fish.
Benton Fraser: Oh.
- Not the Fall That Kills You…: In Call of the Wild, Fraser and Ray Kowalski jump and is pushed by Fraser, respectively, from an airplane without parachutes, but they are not injured because the snow is "bottomless."
- Not With the Safety On, You Won't: in "Free Willie"
- Now or Never Kiss: in "All the Queen's Horses"
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Almost everyone believes Fraser's putting on an act by being such a stereotypical Mountie in order to con people, because no one is really that honest, polite and noble.
- And sometimes, very rarely (see "Bird in the Hand," "Odds"), he actually does let the mask slip.
- Once per Episode: Defenestration (someone/something going through a window), particularly in the first two seasons, and also Fraser's CatchPhrases, especially the longer one in latter seasons (see above).
- One Degree of Separation: Played with in that the Canadian characters (Fraser and Turnbull especially) seem to know almost every Canadian who pops up in an episode. Perhaps most especially in "Mountie on the Bounty".
- Oneof Our Own: In Eclipse, Dead Guy Running, Victoria's Secret and Heaven and Earth.
- Only Barely Renewed: After season one.
- Psychometry: The clairvoyant homeless man's powers appear to work this way in "Heaven and Earth". He gets visions of the missing girl after finding her necklace, and they intensify when someone later presses the necklace into his hand.
- Punny Name: The coroner's name is Mort.
- The Rashomon: "Seeing is Believing," where Ray K, Thatcher, and Walsh all witness an argument between two men and a woman which ends with one of the men stabbed to death. Ray K thinks the young guy did it, Thatcher thinks the young woman did it, and Walsh thinks the two conspired to kill the other man as part of a mob war. it was actually a fourth man who created a distraction and then threw the knife at the victim
- Also, the climax of "Victoria's Secret" makes it unclear to the audience whether or not Victoria is pointing a gun at Fraser. A love-struck Fraser sees an open hand reaching to pull him aboard the train, while some distance away a suspicious Ray sees a gun being aimed at his partner. Camera shots from their different perspectives show either case.
- "Rear Window" Homage: Fraser witnesses a crime through his hospital window in one episode, then starts spying on the suspects with the help of a physical therapist who even kind of looks like Grace Kelly.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: how Fraser ended up in Chicago after pissing off his entire chain of command. Chicago seems to be a dumping ground: Constable Turnbull seems to be too stupid to serve anywhere else, and even Inspector Thatcher isn't too keen on being there, and wants to transfer back to Toronto as soon as she can.
- In "Mountie on the Bounty", it is explained that Sergeant Sam Thorn was assigned to train cadets on the shores of the Great Lakes because she is "BTC - big time crazy" and fell out with RCMP brass. More specifically, she believes the RCMP should be a major naval power, partially to defend against a possible US invasion.
- Schizo Tech: In "Mountie on the Bounty", a replica of the sailing ship HMS Bounty, crewed by Mounties in Red Serge and equipped with 18th-century cannons, takes on a modern Great Lakes freighter equipped with modern military guns and defended by a gang of armed criminals. The Mounties not only survive the attack, but grapple to the side and launch a successful boarding party.
- Shirtless Scene: Fraser has a few of these throughout the series.
- In Diefenbaker's Day Off, we see him taking a bath, and later he walks out of communal bathroom (with his neighbours waiting for their turn) wearing only his Stetson and a Modesty Towel around his waist.
- He's bare-chested while he's reading his father's journal in The Deal.
- In Victoria's Secret, Fraser is shirtless after he makes love to Victoria, and again when Ray visits his apartment after he failed to show up for the pool game.
- Shout-Out: The oft-repeated line, "that's not important right now."
- Signature Item Clue: Subverted. There is evidence that a hitman has been watching Fraser's apartment: cigarette butts from his distinctive brand are found near a hallway window in a building opposite where Fraser lives. But the cigarettes aren't stamped out as if the hitman stepped on them, or crushed as if he put them out on the windowsill; they're evenly snuffed, as if the alleged hitman had put them out in an ashtray at an earlier time and then someone else trying to frame the hitman (and Fraser) planted them there - which is exactly what happened.
- Singing Mountie: Constable Benton Fraser sings multiple times throughout the series, and on one occasion a train car full of his fellow Mounties joins in.
- Sled Dogs Through the Snow: In the pilot episode, the snowmobiles the modern RCMP use are all frozen up, so Fraser -to the incredulity of his coworkers- pursues a criminal through a blizzard by dog sled as part of his Establishing Character Moment as a heroic "traditional" Mountie. Yes, he gets his man.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Waaaaaay over on the idealistic side. So much so that the times when it does even a slightly dark or ambiguous episode it can come across as a Bizarro Episode.
- Smug Snake: Frank Zuko, who likes to appear to be a suave business man who only cares for his community (as opposed to his extortion business), but after seeing him blatantly cheat while playing basketball with Fraser, it is impossible to see him as anything but a Smug Snake
- Snow Means Love: Near the end of the first season, Fraser and Victoria's relationship is repeatedly symbolized by metaphorical falling snow. Somewhat subversive in that this relationship isn't especially healthy - the snow could as much symbolize Victoria's lies & deception as love.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Fraser, in "A Cop, a Mountie, and a Baby".
- Strange Cop in a Strange Land: The premise of the show: A Canadian Mountie working in the city of Chicago.
- Stupid Good: Against all reason, usually averted by Fraser. He is evidently a spectacular judge of character with some highly noteworthy exceptions. In the pilot episode, he loans a large sum of money to a complete stranger with a likely story, only to have him approach him days or weeks later to pay him back. This is mostly guided by Rule of Funny, as it serves to annoy the unholy hell out of RayV for the sheer unlikeliness of it.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute (Ray is replaced for the final two seasons, for valid in-show reasons. Fraser spends most of the first episode trying to prove that the person who is manifestly not Ray is indeed not Ray while all the other characters pretend not to notice.)
- Take Five: When Vecchio wants to talk with Zuko in private after Zuko had Constable Fraser beaten to a pulp, Zuko tells his men to go get him and Ray some coffee. Ray proceeds to beat Zuko senseless.
- Take My Hand!: Fraser Sr. to the man who had him killed, in "A Bird In The Hand". Subverted: Fraser Sr. is a ghost. His hands are intangible, just like the rest of him. You don't have to be a Mountie to deduce what happens next.
- However, despite being a ghost, Fraser Sr. is able to punch out the guy who murdered his wife.
- The Nth Doctor: At the start of the third season, Fraser returns from a vacation and finds a new Ray Vecchio working in the police station, recognized by everyone in the office and with the correct ID. Subverted; this “Ray Vecchio” is in fact Ray Kowalski, who is impersonating the real Vecchio while he works undercover.
- That Didn't Happen: The "contact" in "All the Queen's Horses"
- That Was the Last Entry: Fraser reads his late father's journals occasionally throughout the series, and in "Easy Money" he tells a friend, "There's a short entry in one of my father's journals that reads 'My adversaries appear ready to listen. I'm nearing victory.' And that entry was written the day before he was shot."
- In "Mountie On the Bounty", Fraser told Ray K about the freight vessel Robert McKenzie, which was destroyed in a storm with loss of all hands. According to Fraser (and echoed in the song "Robert McKenzie" that plays throughout the story) the captain's last transmission was simply "Thirty-two men down."
- Theme Naming: The writers were quite fond of this. Names often had some sort of reference or pun, but were generally not MeaningfulNames; once you "got" the joke, there was usually no further significance to the name.
- Many of the Canadian characters are named after Canadian politicians or explorers: Fraser, Frobisher, Mackenzie King, Diefenbaker, etc.
- Not just Canadian, either - Margaret Thatcher?
- Ray's two rival detectives in his precinct are initially named Det. Huey and Det. Louis "Louie" Gardino. Ray dubs them the Duck Boys. After Louis is killed, he is replaced by Det. Dewey.
- Notably, nobody claims to call Huey and Louis the Duck Boys because of their names. Supposedly, it's because they're so smooth, nothing sticks to them, not even water. Ray did have cause to be snarky when he made that claim though.
- Other episodes would give the guest characters have all "artistic" names, all "Canadian hockey player" names, etc.
- Many of the Canadian characters are named after Canadian politicians or explorers: Fraser, Frobisher, Mackenzie King, Diefenbaker, etc.
- Theme Tune
- There Was a Door: Fraser, all the time.Ray V: Do they not have doors in Canada?!
- Those Two Guys: Detectives Huey and Louis. Later, Huey and Dewey.
- Throwing the Fight: "The Blue Line" revolves around the question of whether a big-time hockey player took money to throw an important game.
- Title Drop: Subverted. At the beginning of Say Amen you can briefly see the titles of three previous episodes (Dead Guy Running, Good for the Soul and Seeing is Believing) on a movie theatre billboard.
- Trouser Space: Mild example played for laughs. Fraser sneaks a case file past some obstructive FBI Agents by shoving it down his pants.
- Turn in Your Badge: Happens to RayV in Victoria's Secret and Fraser in Hunting Season.
- Two Scenes, One Dialogue: In Red, White or Blue, Fraser and Ray each spill out their frustrations aloud in their separate homes, and their words form one dialogue. In Seeing is Believing Fraser's interviews of Inspector Thatcher, RayK and Welch blend smoothly from one to the next in midstream.
- Un-Cancelled: Twice, believe it or not. CBS canceled it after its first season, un-canceled it when CBS's next season lineup bombed, and then canceled it again after its second season. In both cases, the show's producers (Canadian company Alliance) saved it thanks to international funding, because of its success in Canada and elsewhere (hence financing from The BBC and Germany's Pro Sieben).
- Un-Paused: In the notorious train episode. An entire train car full of Mounties is gassed and pass out while singing early in the episode. Right before the climax, every single one of them wakes up simultaneously, at which point they resume singing the chorus.
- UST: Fraser and his boss, Inspector Margaret "Meg" Thatcher.
- The Vamp: Victoria Metcalf was this to Fraser.
- Verbal Tic: Frannie's messing up of police jargon, Ray K's trouble with remember words, Fraser's 'thank you, kindly', etc.
- Welcome to the Big City: Fraser in the pilot movie, except that — as befits the general theme of the show — some of it ends up coming out right in the end (e.g., the panhandler he "loans" $100 to returns it at the end of the episode).
- In "One Good Man," Fraser is shocked when the new owner of his apartment building has no interest in the existing tenants and intends to redevelop it plus the surrounding 6 blocks; nearly every other character mocks him for his optimism in choosing to fight back. Subverted in that the sleazy building supervisor ends up saving the day by pointing out that he (the super) holds a lease valid for 4 more years, meaning the building can't be torn down for at least that long.
- In "White Men Can't Jump To Conclusions," Fraser has to leave his boots behind in a bad part of the city in order to save a kid that's been shot—and his boots disappear. Fraser is certain that some Good Samaritan picked the boots up off the street in order to find him and at the end of the episode is proven entirely right
- Western Terrorists: in "All the Queen's Horses," a train carrying a whole bunch of mounties is captured by a White Supremacist group. Randall Bolt, the leader, later returns to cause chaos at his trial
- What You Are in the Dark: "You see, no one knew that I had found her. The police didn't even know her name. I could just let her go and she could walk away that night."
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, ranging from the sensible to the hysterical (Frannie's "virgin" pregnancy and Turnbull's political career - which came to an abrupt end when he was accidentally run over by his own campaign bus)
- Whole Episode Flashback: In an episode appropriately called "Flashback".
- Whole-Plot Reference: "Chicago Holiday" was an affectionate remake of the Audrey Hepburn classic Roman Holiday.
- Much of "Letting Go" is a homage to Rear Window
- Wooden Ships and Iron Men: Invoked and quoted verbatim in “Mountie on the Bounty”.
- Worst Aid: A man is hit by a car and Fraser carries him to the hospital, hoisted over his shoulders. Maybe they don't have ambulances in Canada?
- You Can See Me?: In "Hunting Season", Constable Maggie MacKenzie can see the ghost of Fraser's father. "All The Queen's Horses" had a variation of sorts, with Fraser and Buck both surprised the other could see Bob.
- Mama Lala appears aware of Bob's existence as well in "Mojo Rising"
- You Have Failed Me: In the episode Gift of the Wheelman, the leader of the bag guys pulls this one out of the villain's playbook.
- You Killed My Father: Fraser's motivation for going to Chicago to begin with was to make sure the Chicago Police Department were making an effort to find his father's killer. He ended up getting involved in the investigation, and things spun off from there.
- Fraser faces the man responsible for his father's death in "A Bird In The Hand". There's even a wonderful subversion in that, after Fraser takes off the guy's cuffs for Honor Before Reason reasons, Ray V promptly re-cuffs him, to Fraser's dismay.
- A variation gets brought up as a book end. In the series finale, Fraser and the gang (including both Rays working together at one point go up against the gun runner who killed his mother.
- You Would Do the Same for Me