Follow TV Tropes


Series / Eli Stone

Go To

This is a show caught in among Dramedy, Fantasy and The Musical.

Eli Stone (played by Jonny Lee Miller) is a lawyer for one of those scum-sucking firms, who develops an inherited and inoperable (supposedly) brain aneurysm. The brain aneurysm gives him all kinds of hallucinations, many of which involve song and end with everyone in the room staring at Eli as he's just dive-bombed the carpet during a meeting. These visions tend to have something to do with a case he's working on, indicating that the aneurysm gave Eli Psychic Powers. Eli's hallucinations start somewhat wrecking his life, leading him to break up with his fiancee, take on charity/pro bono cases, nearly lose his job/career, etc.

At the end of the first season, Eli had an operation to remove the aneurysm anyway. Thanks to Status Quo Is God, he got it back...but this time he wants it, and gets a Mission from God.

Provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: In the second season Eli has a vision which shows Maggie defending lead paint manufacturers in the supreme court. This signals that Maggie may become evil but this case is never mentioned again and we never see Maggie become truly amoral.
  • Amoral Attorney: Eli, at least at first. Pretty much the entire lawyer cast except Maggie starts off this way.
  • Bait-and-Switch Time Skip: One of the last episodes in the first season moves along as normal until Eli suddenly realizes that for the past week he hasn't changed his suit or had any non-plot-relevant conversations with anyone. This is his realization that he's not actually awake, he's under anesthetic while surgeons operate on his brain aneurysm.
  • Benevolent Boss: Zigzagged with Jordan, who flips back and forth between adoring Eli and being (for good reason) mad at him.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Or so Eli appears. He is in fact all kinds of awesome, since many of his lawyerly quirks are in fact side effects of the same aneurysm visions that help him win his cases.
  • The Cassandra: No matter how many lives Eli's visions save, nobody (especially nobody with the last name "Wethersby") ever heeds his latest warnings.
  • Cataclysm Climax: Eli has visions of an earthquake in Silver Terrace that will also take out the Golden Gate Bridge, which eventually happens in "Waiting For That Day." This show takes place in San Francisco, it must have been tempting to put a quake there... but the actual quake is a clear case of artistic license. A building on the 22nd floor loses all of its Soft Glass in the shaking, yet everyone's fine, and people on the ground in Golden Gate are standing around, perfectly still, watching the bridge collapse. (Not to mention that a quake close to SF would cause a lot more damage.)
    • And then the bridge is shown completely intact in flyover shots during season 2.
      • In fairness, at least six months pass between the two seasons - presumably the city just worked quickly to repair the bridge.
  • Celebrity Star:
    • Singer George Michael of Wham! is a recurring character in the first season, both in hallucinations and playing himself.
    • Seal also makes an appearance in Season 2.
    • God's fiduciary is played by Sigourney Weaver.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Most of the people Eli sues.
  • Crowd Song: Everyone knows all the lyrics because it's a hallucination.
  • Fauxreigner: "Dr. Chen" is introduced this way.
  • Flash Forward: Eli finds out that he marries Maggie and they have a baby in the future, and he's somewhat famous.
    • Except not. Wordof God says it is actually Maggie and Nate's baby.
  • A Fool for a Client: One episode featured a lawyer who sued a law firm for not hiring him. The lawyer represented himself during the lawsuit, claiming he didn't need another lawyer. Perhaps no lawyer would support na African-American suing another African-American for racism.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: Dad's diary which forecasts events happening ten years after his death! And then is totally subverted when Eli burns it. And then gets de-subverted when we find out that "Dr. Chen" photocopied the whole thing before Eli burned it. He says Eli isn't ready to know that much future yet, but keeps it around as a guide. Eli has also had visions of the book.
  • Handsome Lech / Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Matt
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: After a near-death experience, Jordan decides to change the firm to help those who can't afford fancy lawyers rather than their high-priced (and often corrupt) clients. Rather than join him, his two partners force Jordan out of the firm. As he's packing up, Taylor enters to point out how a few years earlier, one partner was going through a divorce, the other having issues with the IRS and each wanted to hide assets and thus signed over the property deed to Jordan. Which means even though he's out of the firm, Jordan happens to own the entire building and smugly tells his now-former partners to find someplace else to work.
  • Hollywood Law: So very, very much. Particularly bad in the episode "Sonoma" which not only has half the lawyers thrown in jail because the Hanging Judge used to date one of them, it forces two sets of lawyers from opposing firms to ALL be working for the same woman. Conflict of interest much? Also has Surprise Witness and Smoking Painting With Matching Necklace.
    • Not to mention the time where Eli switched sides and suddenly prosecuted a case against his own law firm ("Chinese wall"). Note: According to this article from The Other Wiki, the Chinese Wall actually exists, so it's not as though the writers simply made up a law. The real issue is that, Chinese Wall or no, it's illegal in the U.S. for one firm to represent two conflicting parties.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: George Michael songs in the first season
  • It's Not You, It's Me: Eli breaks up with Taylor because he thinks the aneurysm is a relationship-killer, even though she's willing to stick with him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In the Pilot, Matt Dowd is a major prick about the plantiff's belief that a vaccine caused her son to become autistic, however, he is correct that there is no established causal connection between vaccines and autism.
  • Lamarck Was Right: Eli inherited the aneurysm from his father. Justified because both Eli and his father were chosen to receive the aneurysm.
  • Love Triangle: Eli, Taylor and Maggie. Later, Eli, Maggie and Scott and then Eli, Maggie and Paul. Eli, Beth, and Nate.
  • Magical Native American: "Dr. Chen" kind of operates as one, though he's not Native American (and may not exactly be Chinese, either). Real name: Frank Leibokowski. "They want incense, mystique, foreign accent, they want the "Dr. Chen."
  • Missed the Call: After Eli's surgery, his brother briefly seems to be picking up Eli's visions for him. "God's fiduciary" says essentially that one Stone brother is going to get the visions, period. And if Eli doesn't take 'em, Nate will do just as well.
  • Neurodiversity Is Supernatural: The inexplicable actions of an autistic child are a way God communicates with Eli.
  • Newspaper Dating: Notably, Eli finding out he's 10 years in the future in "Patience" by picking up a newspaper talking about Iraq withdrawal (this episode was produced in 2008) and finding out he's ten years in the past by seeing a newspaper recounting Princess Diana's death.
  • Self-Defeating Prophecy: Eli can sometimes prevent his visions from coming true.
  • Ship Tease:
    • The show makes you think Eli and Beth will date again. She ends up dating his brother.
    • Eli and Maggie are teased throughout the series, and only sort of get together in the series finale. According to Word of God, Maggie too ends up with Nate.
  • There Are No Therapists: Eli's therapist turns out to be "God's fiduciary" and he's been hallucinating visiting her for months.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Constantly. It's a frequent plot point that Eli should be canned and yet can't be. Justified in the pilot, when Beth specifically put into her settlement agreement that Eli can't be fired no matter what he does. Jordan apparently doesn't have this, though.