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"It’s a long story."
— Henry Morgan (Arc Words)

Forever is an Urban Fantasy Police Procedural starring Ioan Gruffudd and Alana de la Garza that aired on ABC for the 2014-15 Fall-Spring season.

Gruffudd stars as Dr. Henry Morgan, a medical examiner working at New York City's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, who is actually over two hundred years old—whenever he dies, he wakes up shortly afterward in a nearby body of water, for some reason. After two hundred years, though, he just wants to grow old and actually die. In 2014, he crosses paths with Detective Jo Martinez (de la Garza) as she investigates a subway crash that killed fifteen people — and, unknown to her, Henry. When he helps solve the case, she requests him as the M.E. attached to her cases, and so they fight crime.

The series wasn't renewed by ABC for a second season, and despite a loyal fan campaign to drum up interest in the show, it ultimately was not picked up by another network or a digital service. However, the complete series was released to DVD as a part of the Warner Archive Collection in 2016, and is currently available on CW Seed, with deleted scenes and creator interviews on YouTube.

Not to be confused with the 2018 dramedy series of the same name.


Tropes:

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  • Abhorrent Admirer:
    • The mysterious caller, Adam, is a killer who claims to be a "fan" of Henry's.
    • The Frenchman is a female antique dealer who apparently fancies Abe, but he's creeped out by her.
  • Accident, Not Murder: In "Look Before You Leap" Henry is presented with a man with an axe embedded in his skull, who'd been heard fighting with a neighbor minutes before his death. He proceeds to explain point by point how the man's death was accidental.
  • Achilles' Heel: Adam believes that only the weapons used to first kill the immortals (a Roman dagger for himself and a flintlock pistol for Henry) will make them Killed Off for Real Subverted: turns out he was mistaken, at least about the pistol.
  • Affair Letters: In "The Art of Murder" Gloria Carlisle attempts to burn these, but a large fragment with the signature of her artist lover at the bottom survived for Henry to find. Lampshaded by Jo.
    Jo Martinez: People still do that? Burn letters? I've only seen that in old movies.
    Henry Morgan: Those movies weren't old to Gloria.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Henry kisses the top of Abe's head in a very fatherly manner in the last scene of the pilot. Abe may be seventy, but he's clearly still Henry's little boy.
  • Age Cut: At the end of the pilot, we see Henry holding the baby boy rescued from the camps, with a focus on the number tattooed on his chubby little arm. Cut to a shot of the elderly Abraham, with the same arm in focus, revealing that Abraham is the baby Henry and Abigail rescued all those years ago. Emphasized by Henry giving Abraham a fatherly kiss on the top of his head.
  • Agonizing Stomach Wound: This is how Adam says he died the first time, having been stabbed in the belly with a pugio while trying to stop the assassination of Julius Caesar.
  • The Alcoholic:
    • As pointed out by Henry in the pilot, Jo has taken to drinking after the death of her husband. This improves greatly during the course of the series, as she finally begins to open up and let herself feel again.
    • Henry himself appears to have had a bout of this after Abigail left, judging by the flashback where Abe finds Henry passed out on the floor with an empty bottle near his head.
  • All There in the Script:
    • The technician who reviews surveillance tapes in several episodes is named Anita in the script and closed captions.
    • In the script for the pilot, after the subway crash, when Henry realizes he's about to die, he actively removes his pocketwatch and tosses it away, so that it won't vanish when he does. Abe asks him about the watch afterwards, and assures Henry that they'll get the watch back eventually.
    • In Henry's lab, there is a tank with several jellyfish visible. According to the script, they are Turritopsis nutricula, known as the Immortal Jellyfish.
      Henry Morgan: When the only other living organism that shares your plight has neither a heart nor a brain, it can get a bit lonely...
  • Always Murder: Lampshaded in "6 A.M.", where Detective Hanson says the odds that Henry will declare a death as a murder is a sucker bet, because Henry always says that it's murder. Still, it's subverted in two episodes: one where it was a suicide that unintentionally looked like a murder, and one where the "victim" was not actually dead — and who was in fact the mastermind of the events. Zig-zagged in the opening of "Look Before You Leap" where the case of a random victim with an ax in his forehead looks like a clear murder but Henry rules it an accidental death (the guy fell off his roof and the ax fell down after him, Henry's Sherlock Scan determines), and the next case is a supposed bridge jumper whose death looks like a suicide but Henry determines she was murdered.
  • Am I Just a Toy to You?: In "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" after Henry tricks Jo into giving a suspect a poisoned drink to coerce him into telling where Adam's pugio is, Jo drives Henry home, then asks him "What am I to you?" Although Henry says she's his partner and someone he cares deeply about, Jo calls him out on not trusting her enough to tell her the truth.
  • An Aesop: In "Diamonds Are Forever," Abe and Jo both learn not to prejudge people.
    • Abe assumes that "the Asian kid" with a tattoo and baseball cap who was in the store stole a missing statue, and that he's come back to steal again. In actuality, the kid is an avid fan of antiques and was moving the vase he's holding to a place he believes better suits it; he similarly moved the statue inside a chest, because (as Henry kept insisting) it's fake and hideous.
    • Early in the episode the wife of an ex-con insists that he turned his life around after he got out. Henry believes it, but Jo tells Henry that "criminals don't change their stripes." At the end of the episode she learns that the reason the victim (an ex-con) knocked on her door the night he was killed is because he wanted to see Jo's husband, who believed him in the past when he said he wanted to turn his life around and helped lighten his sentence when he got convicted. He was being set up for a crime this time, and he thought Jo's husband would believe him.
  • And I Must Scream: In "The Last Death of Henry Morgan," Henry realizes that killing Adam with the pugio might not actually result in Adam's permanent death so he injects air into Adam's brainstem, causing an embolism that disrupts the blood supply to a part of the brain, resulting in Locked-In Syndrome. Adam's conscious mind is fully functioning but he can't move, speak, or communicate in any meaningful manner.
  • And Then What?: Abe's response to Henry's plan to run away from his anonymous caller in the pilot. Is he going to keep isolating himself from the world, spending his days with corpses, never letting anyone get close to him (and not even having Abe, since he's not going with him this time)? That's not really living, is it?
  • Anger Born of Worry: Practically Jo's default state around Henry. He puts himself at risk, and she chews him out for it.
    Henry Morgan: Investigating behind your back was a poor decision on my part. It could have endangered the case.
    Jo Martinez: It's more than that, Henry, you could have been killed! If Mark Bentley had cornered you the way he did me, he could have seriously hurt you!note 
  • Anonymous Benefactor: Abe sees the person who gives him lost records from Auschwitz as this, since they let him discover for the first time who his parents were. Unfortunately, he isn't anonymous to Henry, who realizes it was Adam.
  • Another Story for Another Time: When Jo first sees the scar on Henry's chest at the end of "The Ecstasy of Agony" she asks Henry what it is. Henry, who has just been rescued from almost being tortured to death, tells her it's "a story for another time." He starts to tell her something in the bar later, but gets no further than telling her he was shot before they're interrupted and whatever explanation he was going to give is Left Hanging.
  • Apophenia Plot: Henry tends towards this where Adam is concerned, blaming him for everything from causing a subway crash just to prove Henry is immortal, to being the original Jack the Ripper and working with Nazis. It doesn't help matters when Adam actually does engage in a complex Batman Gambit which ends in successfully tricking Henry into killing a mortal for the first time in "Skinny Dipper." Eventually Henry accuses Adam of killing his beloved Abigail. This turns out to be more complicated; Adam had discovered Abigail knew of the existence of another immortal and kidnapped her to try to force her to lead him to Henry, and Abigail killed herself to avoid betraying Henry's location. Adam actually tried to save her life, reviving her with CPR, but she killed herself more thoroughly right afterwards and there was nothing he could do to save her that time.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Despite the fact that Henry himself defies all laws of physics on a regular basis by dying and then vanishing and reappearing, whole and healthy, in the nearest large body of water, he declares himself to be "a scientist and, frankly, a skeptic" regarding anything else supernatural being real.
    Henry Morgan: I believe that 99.9% of everything can be explained scientifically. There's no fate, no magic, no curses, except for one — my own.
  • Arch-Enemy: Adam fulfills this role for Henry, taunting him by phone and later in person, tricking Henry into deliberately taking a human life for the first time, being revealed to be the reason for Abigail's death, and in the finale trying to either kill Henry permanently or arrange for Jo to see him die and disappear.
  • Artistic License:
    • In "Look Before You Leap" everyone is asked to don white cotton gloves before going anywhere near a valuable codex. In reality, such gloves reduce dexterity and make it more likely a book will be torn or otherwise damaged. Any book that has survived for centuries has been handled by bare hands for most of that time. Researchers just wash their hands before handling such texts. Justified because the killer had to be wearing gloves to hide scratches made by the victim, without it drawing suspicion.
    • In "Social Engineering," natural gas is described as being heavier than air, thus filling the victim's room from the floor up. In reality, natural gas is lighter than air, so would fill the room from the ceiling down. It would take a lot more gas to reach the victim sleeping in his bed than if it were the other way!
  • Artistic License – Law Enforcement:
    • In "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" a mysterious package is found on Hanson's desk, with blood leaking from it. Henry unties the bow to open it; proper forensic technique would call for cutting the ribbon somewhere away from the bow so as to preserve it. The type of knot and exactly how it was tied, as well as any hairs, fibers, or particulates caught up in the knot, could be important evidence.
    • Also in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths," Henry seems to think that the original Jack the Ripper would have been able to recreate Mary Kelley's murder more precisely than a copycat. In reality only a copycat would have bothered to recreate an old murder so precisely. The original killer wouldn't have noted the exact location, length, and shape of everymark on the victim; they'd see a new murder as a new murder, likely showing the style of other scenes but not the exact details.
  • Artistic License – Marine Biology: There is a tank in Henry's basement laboratory with several jellyfish visible inside. The script and Word of God say they are immortal jellyfish. The fact that the script uses the name Turritopsis nutricula instead of the currently accurate Turritopsis dohrnii is forgivable, since they were once considered the same species (although they were separated almost a decade before the show started). However, Turritopsis are at most 4.5 millimetres (0.18 in) across and about equally high, much too small to make such a camera-friendly impressive display.
  • Artistic License – Medicine:
    • Zigzagged. In the pilot, Henry mentions that if he were to have poisoned the subway conductor, he would have used polonium, as it would take weeks to work and allow for the creation of a better alibi, which is much closer to real-life than how it is depicted in "The King of Columbus Circle," where a victim of polonium poisoning shows symptoms soon after being dosed and is treated by pumping her stomach. In reality, it takes some time before the adverse effects become noticeable and by the time they do, it's too late to do anything besides making sure the victim's comfortable.
    • When Henry finds a suspect unconscious and barely breathing, suspecting an overdose, he mixes sour milk and baking soda, then pours it into the man's mouth to induce vomiting. Trouble is, a person who is unconscious is generally unable to swallow, or even to protect their airway by coughing. Sitting an unconscious person up and pouring any liquid into their mouth is a good way to drown them, and even if they survive, foreign substances getting in their lungs is a recipe for severe aspiration pneumonia. This is why it's recommended to put an unconscious person in the "recovery position" lying on their side, so that if they vomit or regurgitate, the fluids can drain out of their mouth instead of pooling inside and being inhaled as they would propped upright or lying on their back.
      • Even better, there's a length of rubber hose around his upper arm when they find him, of the sort that would be used to make the veins stand up for injecting drugs. If the overdose was an intravenous injection, there would be absolutely no point in making the patient vomit, and it would only create a risk of aspiration pneumonia or drowning.
    • A killer tells Henry that he's punctured his lungs and "vena cava artery"; the vena cava, as the name indicates, is a vein, not an artery. Arteries are under much higher pressure, so damaging the equivalent artery, the aorta, would have led to bleeding out much more quickly. The medicine is correct that a large vein would fulfill the killer's goal of making his victim suffer longer, but the terminology should have been used correctly.
    • Adam's blood is described as containing antibodies to diseases that haven't even existed for centuries. So, why would a forensic lab be testing for them? How would they even have a test for a disease that hasn't existed since long before such testing was invented? Sure, it's possible some kind of anthropological researcher might develop a test for a disease found in ancient mummies or bog-men, but why would a forensic lab run such a test on a modern-day suspect's sample, even assuming they knew the test existed?
  • Attack the Injury: In "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths," the killer has stabbed Henry through his chest with a long antique knife, and the handle is protruding from Henry's back. While struggling, the killer swings Henry around so that the knife hilt is pushed sideways by the edge of a door frame. Then, Henry and the killer tumble down a flight of stairs, landing with a sickening crunch. After a few moments, the killer gets up again, but Henry is unable to move. The killer comments that it looks like Henry's back is broken, then places his boot on Henry's shoulders and grinds down with significant weight. Henry emits an agonized groan, and even that cuts off as the injury is aggravated, leaving Henry unable to move anything but his eyes.
  • Auto Erotica:
    • In "New York Kids" the woman driving the car is engaged in kissing one of the men when she hits the victim.
    • When Hanson is baffled by BDSM activities in "The Ecstasy of Agony" Henry asks if he's never broken the speed limit, drunk alcohol to excess, or engaged with a partner of dubious sexual history. Hanson, the staid father of two and devoted family man and cop, replies that he's done all three at once! (Presumably back in the days when he was singer in a band that was good enough to play at the Trash Bar, a venue in the same class as CBGB's.)
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • In "Skinny Dipper", Adam goes to some effort to frame Henry for murder. He also takes steps to ensure that the "real killer" is found by setting up a psychopathic patient as his proxy, and sending this man to attack Henry, who's forced to defend himself and Abe. At the end of the episode, Henry sees Adam's real face, but now he's been forced to take a human life for the first time—which is what Adam intended.
    • In "Best Foot Forward" the intended murder victim, a dancer, actually survives being kidnapped and having her foot forcefully amputated, but the mastermind of the events that effectively ruined her dancing career in all likelihood will get away with the act. The mastermind is the dancer herself; she suffers from a degenerative bone disease that would have ended her career anyway, so she arranged for her brother — a trained medic — to stage her kidnapping and to cut off her foot so that she could enjoy the publicity that her "tragedy" would generate rather than fade out when her condition finally prevented her from working.
  • Barefoot Loon: Aside from the obvious when the rest of him is bare too after resurrecting, Henry searches for a cell phone buried under a new playground's rubber surface by taking off his shoes and socks and walking around on the rubber, feeling for the telltale vibrations of the phone when Jo calls it. It does work.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • "Skinny Dipper" is the culmination of one by Adam. Knowing Henry will not willingly kill, Adam first gives Henry indisputable proof that Adam really is a fellow immortal, while not letting Henry see his face. He goes to elaborate lengths to convince Henry that a psychopathic mental patient is Adam, and convinces the other man that he's passed on his immortality to him, then sends him to confront Henry in his home. He times it so that Abe is out, leading Henry to near-panic at the thought of what "Adam" might have done to him, but Abe arrives home in the middle of the confrontation, putting Henry in immediate fear for his son's safety. Adam knows that if Henry thinks the man he is fighting is immortal, he'll be willing to kill him to get him out of the house and away from his son; Adam's ultimate goal is for Henry to kill a mortal, and Henry plays right into the plan.
    • Henry uses Adam's homicidal nature and inherent need to gloat to his advantage in the Season 1 Finale. Henry arranges to meet Adam to hand over his dagger. He clearly knows Adam will likely kill him, possibly for good, since Abe is stationed by the river waiting for Henry to emerge, but is acutely anxious about whether he will. He also anticipates that Adam will make sure he doesn't die instantly, giving him a chance to lure him closer to gasp out what may be his last words. Sure enough, Adam leans closer to hear what Henry has to say, giving him a chance to use a syringe (presumably brought for the purpose) to inject an air embolism into the vessels feeding Adam's brainstem, causing in effect a stroke that results in locked-in syndrome. Henry didn't know for certain he would survive the gambit, but clearly felt it would be worth it to neutralize Adam.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: In the pilot episode, Henry is chatting up a beautiful cello player when the subway train crashes. Afterwards, the car is full of dead and dying people, some more mangled than others, but the cellist is still beautiful, marred only by a tiny trickle of Blood from the Mouth.
  • Bedlam House: Henry was locked up in the fictional Charing Cross Asylum note  in 1815 after telling his wife he was immortal. One character refers to him going to "Bedlam" but both the wagon he's taken away in and later on-screen title cards establish the facility's name, so they were likely using the name Bedlam as a generic one for all asylums.
  • Been There, Shaped History:
    • The Jack the Ripper case led to the creation of professional medical examiners. Henry just happens to be the doctor brought in to consult on the murders, thus he also happens to be the world's first medical examiner. Adam mentions he was in London at the time, leading Henry to fear he might be Jack the Ripper, but Henry's estimate that Jack had a larger than average hand, combined with the later reveal of Adam's relatively slight stature, makes it unlikely.
    • Thanks to his longevity, and supernatural ability to get himself in trouble, Henry's saved three generations of a royal family over the span of 60 years.
    • The doctor who experimented on Adam in Auschwitz was Dr. Josef Mengele.
    • Adam claims that his first death came when he was trying to prevent the assassination of Julius Caesar.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: In "The Art of Murder", Henry ultimately determines that Gloria Carlyle was dying of a terminal illness; rather than wait another few months, she chose to commit suicide by overdosing on her son's medication to induce a stroke.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Carlyle family in "The Art of Murder."
  • Big Secret: The main secret is Henry's immortality.
    • In the 1950s, Henry let a man die when he might've been able to save him to keep others from discovering it.
    • Abe's biggest secret is that, shortly after being drafted into the Vietnam war, his squad was ambushed and Abe panicked and just played possum until it was over. Three men on his squad died, and he's wondered ever since if they might have lived if he'd joined the fight.
    • Played with in the pilot. Obviously, Henry doesn't want to call attention to the fact that he was in the subway crash, but Jo figures it out anyway, declaring him the prime suspect due to his presence and withholding of information. However, he is able to prove that the evidence against him isn't substantial enough, and finds evidence of another suspect, clearing himself surprisingly quickly, all while managing to avoid having his immortality discovered.
  • Black Boss Lady: Lieutenant Joanna Reece, Jo's boss. (There is a different black woman as Lieutenant in the pilot.)
  • Blackmail: In "Social Engineering" hacktivist Liz discovers Henry's records are fake, and demands he issue her a death certificate as part of leaving her current identity and creating a new one, or she'll reveal the forgeries to his colleagues. Henry ultimately refuses, but Liz is nearly killed before she gets the chance to reveal his secret. Later, another computer expert follows the same trail and threatens to not only expose him as a fraud but make sure his face is all over the Internet, making it extremely difficult to ever start a new life, unless he lets Liz die. Henry again chooses to do what's right. Liz sets him up with much better-faked records so his secret is safe.
  • Blood from the Mouth: In the pilot episode, after the subway crash the young cello player Henry had been chatting up is lying nearby, still in one beautiful piece but with a little trickle of blood from the corner of her mouth and her eyes open and lifeless.
  • Body of the Week: Dr. Morgan is a medical examiner working at the Office of Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York (stated to be home to the largest collection of slightly chilled corpses in the world), and Detective Martinez works Homicide in Manhattan, so there's usually at least one dead body, sometimes several.
  • Bondage Is Bad: A Zig-Zagged Trope in the Forever (2014) episode "The Ecstasy of Agony". Molly Dawes, aka Mistress Iona Payne, is a Yale-educated psychologist and a morally decent woman who works as a domination therapist, who is suspected of causing the death of a patient but is ultimately proven innocent. She has been using BDSM as an integral part of successful therapy for the victim when all other therapies had failed. However, the trope is played straight with the perpetrator, who used a distorted, twisted version of BDSM practices to torture and kill the victim in question and later to torture Henry. It's indicated that he's only interested in BDSM because of past abuse and trauma leaving him warped and dangerous, and he gleefully declares that he'd always been in the receiving end, but inflicting pain is fun, too!
  • Book and Switch: In "The Ecstasy of Agony" Domme Iona Payne inverts this trope, by hiding her appointment book inside the dust jacket of a trashy romance novel.
  • Bookends:
    • In the pilot, Henry's anonymous caller tells Henry, "We're soul mates, Henry. We have eternity together. Might as well have some fun with it." At the end of the season, after Henry has induced locked-in syndrome in Adam, he quietly tells him, "Don't worry, we'll find a way out of this. We've got eternity together."
    • Also, in the pilot, when Henry dies and reappears naked in the East River, he tells the police officers on shore, "It's a long story." In the final episode, "The Last Death of Henry Morgan," Jo shows him a picture of Henry, a young Abigail, and baby Abe which she found in the abandoned subway tunnel along with Henry's watch. When she asks him to explain it, he looks pole-axed a moment, exchanges a nervous glance with Abe, takes a deep breath, and tells Jo, "It's a long story."
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: When Abe asks Lucas for help finding records of his mother and tells him that she had gone by several names, his response to Lucas's questions is his dad's usual, "It's a long story."
  • The Boxing Episode: "The Pugilist Break" is named for a fracture of the fourth metacarpal frequently found in boxers and other people who punch things hard, a condition suffered by the Victim of the Week shortly before his death. The victim volunteered at a recreation center teaching boxing.
  • Brains and Bondage: Henry, a highly educated and sophisticated doctor, and Molly, with a PhD from Yale, are the two most prominently kinky characters in the series.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Break Her Heart to Save Her. Henry makes this choice in "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" trying to protect Jo. Even though she might hate him for it, Henry believes he has no choice but to break Jo's trust and steal the pugio because if he doesn't, Adam may go through her to get it, and Henry's seen the remains of multiple people Adam has tortured to death in pursuit of it. Whatever his feelings for Jo, he can't put her at risk by letting her get involved in dealing with Adam.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: At the end of "The Man In the Killer Suit" when a British noble is revealed to be a fake, Henry briefly puts on a (bad) American Midwestern accent and tells Jo he's really "Hank Morgan from Cleveland."
  • Brits Love Tea: Not only does Henry drink tea frequently, when he goes to see his therapist, Dr. Lewis Farber, for the first time, we see him making tea even before we hear his British accent. Invoked in this case, as Dr. Farber is only pretending to be from London, and is in truth Henry's 2,000+ year old stalker, Adam, originally Roman.
  • Brutal Honesty: Henry sometimes seems to have no filter, frankly discussing Jo's drinking or his own BDSM gear, asking a suspect's wife about his infidelity, and excusing it all by saying he isn't judgmental. It can often serve a purpose when questioning a suspect, but just as often he seems oblivious or to not care what others might wish to keep private.
  • Bullet Holes and Revelations: When the bad guy of the week in the pilot is holding Henry at gunpoint, Henry hits him with a wrench and they struggle over the gun. There's a loud bang as the gun goes off, and close-ups of equally surprised looks on both men's faces, before Henry slowly sinks to the ground.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Henry is a skilled Medical Examiner who semi-frequently breaks police procedure — interrupting interrogations to ask his own questions, taking home and occasionally lending evidence, etc. He's skilled at the Sherlock Scan, which weirds out the others, but has little respect for or awareness of many social conventions. He sniffs things, such as a stained shirt or a puddle on the sidewalk, using the trained chemist's technique of wafting the scent toward his nose with a hand instead of sticking his face in things willy-nilly, so often it's practically a Character Tic. Jo usually covers for him with her boss when he does something illegal, and Lieutenant Reece tells Henry she puts up with his eccentricities because he gets results.
  • Burial at Sea:
    • Henry's fate after he's shot by the captain of the Empress of Africa because he refused to step aside and let an African man be murdered.
    • In "Dead Men Tell Long Tales" the fact that this trope didn't happen to an African captive is Henry's first clue that something major happened on the ship after his own (first) death; it turns out the key to the shackles and cell door Henry had stolen to free the Africans had fallen from his dead hand within the reach of the African man he'd told he would give it to, and they had successfully risen up against the slavers and taken control of the ship. The African man's body was thus placed in a coffin with great respect, but the coffin was still aboard when the ship sank, to be rediscovered two hundred years later.
  • Burner Phones: Adam uses one to call Henry in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths", then leaves it at the scene before Henry can find him. Abe identifies it as a burner, thus untraceable. Henry carries it with him and Adam calls him on it several times, but at the end of the episode Henry doesn't want to talk to Adam any more and throws it into the river. Adam's favorite place to call Henry from seems to be just outside the antique store, where he can watch Henry's reactions inside through the windows, but it's unclear whether he's using a burner cell phone or a pay phone.
  • But Liquor Is Quicker: Implied in the pilot when Jo is introduced leaving a one-night stand in the morning and Henry diagnoses her as hung over shortly after.
  • Call-Back: It's revealed in "Hitler On the Half-Shell" that Adam spent time in Auschwitz as a test subject. In the season finale, an antiquities expert shows Henry a journal he found that belonged to Dr. Josef Mengele detailing the experiments performed and relating Adam's Resurrective Immortality, which is what led him to become interested in the plot-important Roman dagger.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: When Henry learns that the Morgan shipping empire has been engaged in the slave trade, he confronts his father, who had always taught Henry that slavery was evil and shameful. He breaks ties with his father, refusing to take anything that came from the profits made on the deaths and suffering of so many human beings, and makes plans to move himself and his wife to the colonies to get away from his family completely, calling him out by his actions as well as his words.
  • Can Only Move the Eyes:
    • At the end of "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths," Henry has been stabbed and is bleeding out internally, fallen down the stairs and broken his back/neck, and is going into shock. He can't move; even when the killer grinds his foot into Henry's broken back, only an involuntary, grunting moan results. When Adam appears, Henry's eyes try to find him, but he can't move his head at all.
    • Adam's fate in "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" after Henry induces Locked-In Syndrome by injecting air into his brainstem. It's not even clear if he has any control over his eyes; victims of Complete Locked-In Syndrome don't.
  • Can't Take Anything with You: A non-Time Travel version. Whenever Henry dies, his body vanishes and reappears naked in the nearest body of water. The first time we see him reappear, Henry is immediately arrested for indecent exposure, and it's implied that this happens a lot.
  • Car Cushion: In the pilot, Henry, wounded and lacking options, hurtles himself and the villain off the roof of Grand Central Station. Henry lands directly on a car, the villain on the pavement next to it.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Adam readily admits that he is no longer the "good and decent man" he claims he once was, that he gets a thrill from killing people, and that he considers himself Above Good and Evil.
  • Car Hood Sliding: After his briefcase is stolen and he gives chase, the victim of the week in "Fountain Of Youth" gets soot on his hand and pants leg doing this over a taxi that almost hit them. Henry figures out exactly where the soot was from.
  • Carpe Diem: All too aware his own life is short compared to his immortal father, Abe actively tries to live his life this way, from twice marrying a woman whose passions are sometimes violent (including towards him) to trying half-pipe skateboarding for the first time at age 69. He frequently urges Henry to do the same.
  • Casual Kink:
    • After Henry's home is searched in the pilot and Jo describes several items as torture devices, Henry matter-of-factly states that "all those are for sex."
    • When the Frenchman shows Abe a recently-acquired set of antique handcuffs in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths," he asks if she's planning to arrest someone, to which she replies that that depends on whether Abe is free for dinner.
  • Caught on Tape: When a killer has taken Henry hostage with a knife at his throat, Henry obviously isn't worried about dying. He does, however, look nervously at the security camera which would record his death and his body disappearing.
  • Chalk Outline: In "The Art of Murder" Henry refuses to visit the museum when the body of Gloria Carlyle is first investigated. When Jo pushes him into going there later, there is a taped outline on the floor of the gallery where she was found.
  • Christianity is Catholic: When Henry is transferred from the asylum to Southwark prison, his cellmate is a priest (in prison for sleeping with the magistrate's wife). When Henry tells him he'd never believe his story, the priest replies that he's Catholic, and "we believe even when we know we're wrong!"
  • Circling Vultures: In "Best Foot Forward," after a dancer is kidnapped and they track down the hotel room where her foot was amputated, Henry spotting seagulls circling a spot on the shore is how they find where she was dumped, in this case before she becomes a corpse.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • "The Man in the Killer Suit" wraps up just like any other episode, but then in its last minute Henry gets in a cab, and the driver turns out to be Adam, who locks him in and speeds off.
    • At the end of "Best Foot Forward" one cliffhanger interrupts another. Jo has just told Henry she called off her trip to Paris with Isaac because she realized she didn't want to go with Isaac, but before she can really answer his question about why, Abraham interrupts, leaving the relationship hanging — in order to tell Henry "I found Mom."
  • Cold-Blooded Torture:
    • Used by Iona's stalker on Henry in "The Ecstasy of Agony" using strangulation and electricity.
    • Adam prefers to carve people up with a blade when he wants information, both in "Hitler on the Half-Shell" and "The Last Death of Henry Morgan," in search of the whereabouts of his pugio.
  • Commonality Connection: Henry and Jo have both lost someone they loved recently and aren't yet over them; Jo's husband died less than a year ago and Abigail left Henry and was never seen or heard from again (although Henry doesn't share all the details). In "The Art of Murder" they bond over how happy memories can make it hard to go someplace they associate with their lost love even more than sad ones do. In the second half of the season, they also share the fact that they've both killed someone for the first time.
  • Competing with a Corpse: There is a bit of this on both sides where Jo and Henry are concerned. Henry is still in love with Abigail, and Jo with her husband Sean.
  • Complete Immortality: Henry Morgan has been physically 34 for 200 years and is teleported into the nearest body of water whenever he dies, where he wakes up perfectly fine (and naked, unfortunately). Adam posits the only way for him to die is to be shot by the same pistol that caused his first death, but the finale proves this theory wrong, so Henry is an absolutely straight example of this.
  • The Confidant: Abe serves this function for Henry, having been his son and known his secrets for decades. Abe worries about what will happen when he's gone, and he has urged Henry to take Jo into his confidence so that she can fill this role for him. Even Dr. Farber, Henry's therapist in "Skinny Dipper" and really his stalker, Adam, tells Henry everyone needs someone they can share secrets with, and the first person he asks about at work is Jo.
  • Constructive Body Disposal: Played with. A victim's cell phone is buried under a newly constructed playground, but his actual body isn't.
  • Cool People Rebel Against Authority: Lucas clearly holds this attitude, praising Henry when he's arrested for swimming naked in the East River and declaring he does plenty of things in his own private life that the law would not approve of.
  • Cool Teacher: Molly Dawes is a Dominatrix with a PhD from Yale who teaches college classes on kink and alternate sexuality. She was happy to chat with a student who said she was considering changing majors and to see if she could help.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower:
    • Henry has to constantly avoid others finding out about his Resurrective Immortality. For example, in the pilot, he ends up being in a subway crash. He is fine after reappearing in the East River (he always appears in a nearby large body of water), but the detective investigating the crash finds his antique pocket watch and wants to know how it got there. His arch-nemesis Adam inverts this as a "favor" in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" after a suspect causes Henry a slow but fatal wound. As the cops are closing in, in order to keep his immortality (as well as Adam's own) a secret, Adam slits Henry's throat, resulting in Henry dying (and vanishing) before the cops get there. In the finale, "The Last Death of Henry Morgan," this happens one too many times, so his detective partner demands to know the truth. The episode ends with him starting to tell her.
    • Henry also faces a much slower but more inexorable battle to hide his lack of aging. In flashbacks of "The Man in the Killer Suit" Henry is seen dying his hair grey when he and his family have stayed in one place too long, to avoid questions about why he isn't aging. When a World War II veteran who saw Henry die at Normandy recognizes him, declaring the years haven't been nearly as kind to him as they have to Henry, he and his whole family have to pack up and move in a hurry, taking only what they can carry. The constant need to establish new identities as he ages out of old ones means all of his important documents are forgeries, leaving him vulnerable to blackmail in "Social Engineering."
  • Covering Up Your Gray: Inverted. Dr. Henry Morgan has not aged since he became essentially immortal 200 years ago. In the flashback of "The Man in the Killer Suit" Henry is seen adding grey to his temples in order to cover up his agelessness.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Villain of the Week in "The Wolves of Deep Brooklyn" is a stock broker running his entire company as a Ponzi scheme, and is willing to resort to murder and bribery to keep it going.
  • Cowboy Cop: Henry, though not a cop per se, definitely fulfills this role. Occasionally others join in, such as Jo asking Henry if he smells something burning outside a building they want to enter, or Lieutenant Reese saying no one with a badge is allowed to interrogate a suspect, then pointedly telling Henry she realizes she has no authority over O.C.M.E. personnel.
  • Creepy Good: Dr. Henry Morgan is described as creepy by several people in the pilot. He works as a medical examiner, which he describes at one point as "I dismember dead bodies for a living." He can read personal details about people's lives, living or dead, at a glance. According to his resume, his last job before going to medical school (in Guam) was working as a grave-digger. When a warrant is served to search his home because he withheld information about a mass-murder, he's found to have a hidden basement laboratory (which he pronounces with emphasis on the second syllable, like a movie Mad Scientist) containing body parts (excusable since he's an ME) and "torture devices" ("All those are for sex.") and poisons. When questioned he seems completely unperturbed, stating casually which poison he'd have used instead and agreeing that their suspicions of him are quite reasonable — before poking a great big hole in their theory. It's unclear whether knowing that he's been alive since the 18th century and can't seem to ''stay'' dead would help their impression of him any. He's also an Actual Pacifist who has worked as a doctor for a couple hundred years and is quite ready to put himself in danger if it spares someone else.
  • Creepy Stalker Van: After Molly kisses Henry in front of the police station, her stalker pulls up next to Henry in a brown van with no plates and subdues him with a cattle prod before stuffing him in the back of the van and driving away.
  • Criminal Mind Games: A human heart is left on Hanson's desk in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" and the killer leaves a clue as to his next crime at each crime scene (A black dahlia is left at his Jack the Ripper homage, and a piece of stocking left at the Black Dahlia scene hints he's going for a Boston Strangler next.)
  • Cruel Mercy: At the end of "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" Henry leaves Adam alive rather than trying to kill him permanently with his pugio. However, since he's induced Locked-In Syndrome it is showing mercy to the rest of the world, but definitely not to Adam.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Jo is not amused when Henry pours ethanol on her hand and lights it on fire to neutralize the poison thrown on it.
  • Curse Cut Short: From "Social Engineering":
    Abraham Morgan: No matter the decade, I know how young people think. See, they think with their hearts, and they think with their—
    Henry Morgan: Congratulations!
  • Deadly Doctor: Henry is faced with fellow immortal Adam, who is a psychopath bent on tormenting Henry, who has tortured to death several people and is likely to continue killing indiscriminately. If Henry kills him he'll simply reappear in the river, hale and hearty. Henry needs a way to neutralize him that he can't escape by killing himself. Henry solves this in "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" by using his medical knowledge to inject an air embolism into Adam's brainstem, inducing Locked-In Syndrome. Adam is conscious but unable to move, giving him no way to kill himself and no way to communicate with anyone to ask them to kill him. Given neither one of them ages, he could stay like that for years, even decades.
  • Deadly Gas: The pilot's antagonist plans to pump one into the air conditioning system of Grand Central Station.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Often literal with the "dead" part.
    • When Henry's testing a lethal poison on himself (bear in mind, he's in front of and talking with his son at the time):
      Henry Morgan: Wouldn't it be ironic if this time I actually die?
      Abraham Morgan: Hysterical.
    • When he's been shot and is bleeding out:
      Killer: You're going to a better place.
      Henry Morgan: I doubt that.
    • When Adam (a man who has lived for over 2000 years and hates it) expresses interest in Abe, Henry threatens that if Adam does anything to harm Abe, he "will live to regret it."
      Adam: As opposed to what?
  • "Dear John" Letter: When Abigail leaves Henry in 1985, she writes him a letter stating she needs time to think and decide what to do. When months go by with no word, Henry tries to report her as missing, but the cops he talks to read the letter and decide it's one of these, and Henry's wife probably doesn't want to be found.
  • Death-Activated Superpower: Henry seems to have been a normal man, aging normally, until his first death. After being shot trying to save a man's life and thrown overboard, Henry no longer ages and every time he dies, his body disappears and he reappears in perfect health in the nearest large body of water.
  • Death by Ambulance: In "Social Engineering," after her misdeeds are discovered, a computer expert commits suicide by stepping into the path of an arriving ambulance outside the hospital her victim was just saved in.
  • Defends Against Their Own Kind: In "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" Henry, realizing how much of a threat Adam is to everyone around them, neutralizes him by injecting air into a blood vessel feeding Adam's brainstem, causing an embolism and inducing Locked-In Syndrome, leaving Adam completely unable to act.
  • The Defroster:
    • Jo is determined to get Henry to open up to her. In the pilot her interest starts out professional, but she later trades more personal stories over a drink. In "The Art of Murder" after getting Henry to admit he avoids the museum because it reminds him of someone, Jo presses for her name telling him she'll get it out of him eventually, and by the end of the episode she's succeeded. Jo repeatedly tells Henry she's there if he needs someone to talk to. At the end of "The Man in the Killer Suit" she confidently tell Henry someday he'll open up, when he's ready. In "Skinny Dipper" she convinces Henry to not only tell her about his stalker, but to tell Hanson and Lieutenant Reece as well, and he's rewarded with the full support of the entire NYPD. By the finale, "The Last Death of Henry Morgan," she's started to lose patience after Henry lies to her more than once, but the last scene is Jo asking Henry about a family picture and it looks like Henry is finally ready to tell her his long story.
    • Lucas makes repeated offers to Henry to go out for a beer or catch some music together, and in the pilot it's clear Henry habitually turns them all down. By "The Ecstasy of Agony" he's worn Henry down enough for Henry to join the gang at a local bar after work, setting a precedent for a later karaoke night in "Punk Is Dead." In "The Night in Question" Lucas taking the initiative to help Henry and Abe find Abigail leads to Henry inviting Lucas into his hidden basement laboratory. By the end of the series, "The Last Death of Henry Morgan," Henry has warmed to Lucas and tells his protégé how proud he is of him.
  • Dehumanization: When Henry checks an ill African captive and declares, "This man will be fine," the ship's captain tells him, "He's not a man, he's property." The institution of slavery relied on such dehumanization.
  • Detective Mole: Detective Dunn in "Diamonds Are Forever."
  • Deus ex Machina: In "The Pugilist Break" Henry is chasing a suspect who suddenly stops, turns around, and aims his gun directly at Henry, who is emerging from a building at high speed and has no chance to slow down enough to duck or dodge to avoid getting shot, in a very public place with fellow cops coming quickly behind him. Just as the suspect is about to open fire and kill Henry, a truck hits him.
  • Deuteragonist: Henry is clearly the protagonist, but Jo Martinez is his equal in the policing that makes up the majority of the series.
  • Dies Wide Open: Many times, the first in the pilot after the subway crash when the pretty cello player's body is lying nearby, and most of the times Henry himself dies follow this trope. It's a plot point in "Hitler On the Half Shell" when the killer's fingerprints are found on the victim's eyelids because he closed them after death.
  • Disability Alibi:
    • Henry determines that the victim in "Diamonds Are Forever" couldn't have committed a jewelry store robbery because he had a shoulder injury which would have made it impossible for him to smash an overhead security camera.
    • In "The Last Death of Henry Morgan," when Jo and Henry go to question Aubrey Griffin they discover that he is wheelchair-bound and never leaves hhis home. He could, however, pay someone else to steal the "Caesar dagger" for him.
  • Disappears into Light: In the flashback of "Diamonds Are Forever," Henry is transferred from the asylum to Southwark prison, and his cellmate is a Catholic priest (in prison because he slept with the magistrate's wife). At first Henry is reticent, but after three months he finally opens up to the priest enough to tell him about his Resurrective Immortality, and the priest is certain it has a higher purpose. The priest latches on to his Resurrection Teleportation, declaring that Henry is never more than one death away from freedom. The ceiling is too low for a normal hanging to break Henry's neck cleanly, but the priest calculates that their combined weight should be enough for a quick, clean death. When they carry out his plan, we see a shadow on the cell wall of Henry's body swinging in the noose, then there is a flash of light which makes the priest raise a hand and squint, then the shadow is of the noose alone, Henry's body having vanished.
  • Disobeyed Orders, Not Punished: In "Look Before You Leap" Reece tells Jo to accept the "bridge jumper case" as a suicide and focus on other homicides. Based on Henry's deductions and info she uncovers, Jo pursues the case anyway, eventually catching the real killer. Reece pulls Jo aside, and sounds like she's going to chew her out for disobeying, but instead praises her for going with her gut, which she says is the best tool a cop has.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: In "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" the killer imitates Jack the Ripper by killing a prostitute named Mary Kelly. Discussed when Henry points out that prostitutes have always been easy targets for killers.
  • Distressed Dude:
    • Henry is taken hostage by the killer in "Look Before You Leap" with a blade held to his throat, with the extra stress of security cameras that will record him vanishing if he dies. Jo ends up shooting the killer.
    • In "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" Henry is stabbed fatally, then when he tries to fight off the killer anyway he's thrown against a wall, moving the knife still embedded in his back, then tumbles down a flight of stairs, breaking his neck and leaving him unable to move. This time, it's Adam who comes to his rescue, sort of.
    • Henry gets shot in "New York Kids," leaving Jo to chase after the suspect.
    • Henry is kidnapped and tortured in "The Ecstasy of Agony," shackled to a Saint Andrew's Cross, choked repeatedly, then electrocuted. Jo, Hanson, and several other cops come to the rescue, distracting the killer enough for Henry to grab ahold of him with a free hand, thus sending the electric current through him as well, causing him to collapse and drop the cable he was trying to kill Henry with.
    • Adam traps Henry in the back of an out-of-control taxi which then sinks into the Hudson with Henry still inside in "Skinny Dipper." Henry leaves some horrific scratch marks on the inside of the taxi in his desperate attempts to escape.
  • Diving Save: When Henry stands in the road in front of a speeding car in "The Wolves of Deep Brooklyn", Jo makes one of these to get him out of the way in time.
  • Does Not Drive: Henry hasn't driven for decades, relying on a bicycle, taxis, or rides from Abraham or colleagues. A reason is never given on-screen, but in "The Man In the Killer Suit" Abe says Henry hasn't driven in 37 years, putting his last time behind the wheel in 1978.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Henry is horrified and disgusted when Jo digs into a gyro while they're on stake-out. Jo is unapologetic.
  • Dramatic Curtain Toss: In "Hitler On the Half-Shell" a sheet is pulled off to reveal an original Monet "Water Lilies" painting, returned to its rightful owner by the son of a Nazi art thief.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Played for mild laughs when other characters make various references to Henry's age and to living forever, not knowing that Henry is actually 234 years old and immortal as he and the audience do.
    • In the same way but more dramatically, at the end of "Dead Men Tell Long Tales" Isaac tells Henry the story of a slave ship that was taken over and made it to non-slaveholding land in America. He says only the map and the story survived, "our story." Isaac, as a descendant of one of the slaves, means "our" as in his and his family's. However, what the audience knows and Isaac doesn't is that "our story" also applies to him and Henry: Henry was the doctor on that ship 200 years ago and is the one who dropped the key that freed the slaves.
  • Drink-Based Characterization: Henry recognizes a wine's vintage by scent, orders whiskey by name and year, and asks for cognac "the older, the better." He also frequently drinks tea and coffee made by sophisticated processes rather than drip or a tea bag. Jo, meanwhile, orders "double whiskey, whatever's well" and drinks police station or carry-out coffee.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Invoked by Adam when he kills a taxi driver, steals his cab, and picks up Henry in it. He's rigged the doors to lock and seals the barrier between himself and the back seat, trapping Henry there, and proceeds to drive like a maniac to freak out Henry, before finally shooting himself in the head, vanishing and thus proving he's immortal, and leaving Henry trapped in a cab that's hurtling down a pier and over the side at high speed.
    Henry: Just slow down! Someone's going to get killed!
    Adam: That's the idea.

    E-H 

  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The pilot has Henry quite nonchalantly asking Abe to kill him so that he can solve the week's mystery. Later episodes, however, have him say that he still fears death and show that he fights to stay alive even if dying and coming back to life would be a simpler option. (Possibly justified in that this particular case seems to involve someone who has found out Henry's secret, and Henry is thus more motivated than usual to get answers quickly.)
    • In the pilot, Henry's basement lab is reached through a trap door in the floor of the shop. In later episodes, characters enter the lab by coming down what appears to be an ordinary staircase with light coming from a doorway at the top and no sign of anyone closing a trap door as they enter, and the hidden entrance is never seen or referred to again.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: Jo eats most of her meals at her desk, a reflection of how she's buried herself in her work since her husband died. Henry discusses this, suggesting Jo shouldn't shut herself away.
    Henry: I worry about you, Detective. You have breakfast at your desk before anyone arrives, dinner after everyone leaves. You only go home to sleep. There's more to life. […] This is the most exciting city in the world. There is someone out there for all those breakfasts and dinners.
    Jo: Yeah, well, I already found him. He's gone.
  • Electricity Knocks You Out: Done multiple times in "The Ecstasy of Agony." Henry is knocked out by a prolonged shock from a cattle prod as part of kidnapping him. When he starts to wake up tied up in the van, he's knocked out again with another zap. When he wakes up chained to a Saint Andrew's cross, he stays conscious while being choked, but is knocked unconscious again by more electric charges. The one on the cross might be excusable since the killer was described as using a persistent low charge to make his first victim's diaphragm seize up and suffocate him, but there's no indication he was trying to do anything to Henry but cause him pain.
  • Electric Torture: Inflicted on Henry by Iona Payne's stalker in "The Ecstasy of Agony."
  • Elegant Classical Musician: In the pilot, Henry is chatting up a beautiful, elegant woman on the subway, who is a cello player heading to perform at a concert at the Lincoln Center.
  • End-of-Episode Silliness: In a deleted scene at the end of the pilot, as Henry and Jo get into her car to head for the next crime scene, Henry asks if they can have the sirens on. Jo gives him an exasperated/amused look and asks Henry how old he is, but she indulges him by turning on the sirens as they pull away, Henry grinning like a boy.
  • Entitled to Have You: Of the what they do type. In "Punk Is Dead" a man helped a woman he was infatuated with hide her pregnancy by taking her to live in upstate New York, then cared for her throughout her term. He was upset that instead of falling for him, once she'd had the baby she went back to her boyfriend, the child's father.
  • Erotic Asphyxiation: In "The Ecstasy of Agony" Mistress Iona Payne engages in this with her client, using a leather collar and pulley system to choke him repeatedly. Averted when the same type of equipment is used on Henry later, as there is nothing erotic about this situation of Cold-Blooded Torture.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In the first scene of the pilot Henry mistakes someone for Abigail, checks the time on his pocket watch, shows off his Sherlock Scan talent, then dies violently and reawakens in the East River.
  • "Eureka!" Moment:
    • Henry has them so often Lucas can call it out.
      Lucas Wahl: And, cue the "ah hah" moment.
    • In "Punk Is Dead" Lucas declares "It's my turn for the 'ah-hah!' moment!" when he realizes a large nail may have caused the wound in Lucy's skull.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: How far it's just personal resentment of what happened to him may be debatable, but Adam states that his hatred of Nazis is so great that Henry can be sure he'd never harm Abraham, as both Abe and Adam suffered in the concentration camps.
  • Evidence Scavenger Hunt: Jo and Henry hunt for Iona Payne's client list/appointment book in "The Ecstasy of Agony." As they have a general warrant, Jo takes the opportunity to snoop through the BDSM gear.
  • Evil Counterpart: Adam, who has lived two thousand years to Henry's "mere" two hundred, is what Henry could become if he lives long enough and doesn't stay open to caring about others: a sociopathic killer who has lost his connection with humanity. Adam claims he was "a good and decent man" once, before immortality drove him to become who he is.
  • Exact Words:
    • In "Punk is Dead" Lieutenant Reece tells Martinez and Hanson to stay away from a suspect and stresses to Henry that no member of the NYPD is allowed to pursue this particular line of inquiry. The Office of Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York happens to be an entirely separate entity from the police department.
      Lt. Reece: Henry, I just want to make sure that you understand that no one from this office is allowed to pursue Farrell any further. But...there's only so much control I have over the O.C.M.E. [significant look] Farrell's club is called the Marquee. No one from the N.Y.P.D. is allowed to go with you. Got it?
    • In "The Night In Question", Jo has arrested a small-town sheriff for murder. Reece makes a point of mentioning that "no one with a badge" is to go anywhere near him until Internal Affairs arrives. Henry has to be hit over the head with the message, but they send him in to question the man.
    • In "The Night in Question", Abe and Henry refer to Abigail as Abe's mother, giving a list of aliases she has used but never referring to her by her real name to anyone from NYPD. Jo asks Henry who "Abe's mother" is to him that her case is causing him to act so irrationally. In a deleted scene, Henry later describes their relationship. Everything he says is technically true, but someone who doesn't know he's immortal and talking about his wife would assume he's describing a time when he was a child and Abe's mother was a parental or grandparental figure to him.
  • Exactly Exty Years Ago: The series started airing in 2014; Henry's first death was in 1814.
  • Exposition of Immortality:
    • Henry does a voice-over that first introduces the fact that he's immortal, and a flashback Age Cut reveals the elderly Abraham is his son, adopted in 1945 after being rescued from a concentration camp. There are flashbacks in every episode to his past. He keeps a pocket watch given to him by his father in 1814 and has a leather doctor's bag made for him by a leatherworker he'd treated in the early 1900s. His stalker sends him a picture of him and his wife taken in 1955, as well as a letter on paper from a hotel in Italy they stayed at in 1945; he comes to the shop with a tea tray that belonged to Henry's father and bears the family crest, so that he can meet Abraham; and he shows Henry that the gun that killed him is among the artifacts recovered from a sunken ship, later arranging for it to be sent to him. Henry cleans up the gun well enough for it to be fired again and puts it on display. The whole antique store is started as a way to clear out Henry's accumulated possessions, as Abe feels his father is becoming a hoarder. Henry also frequently refers to New York or world history in much greater detail than most people could share, and he thinks everything from Jazz to Pop to Rap is all the same thing, just noise with no melody or structure.
    • Adam (although that's probably not his real name) first tells Henry he's a fellow immortal, calling Henry a mere child and claiming to be over 2,000 years old, then proves it by killing himself in front of Henry. Adam is searching for an object from his own mortal past, a certain Roman dagger from several decades BC (it's eventually revealed that it was one of the daggers that were used to kill Julius Caesar).
    • Both immortal characters have interacted with well-known historical figures or have been involved in key events. For example, Henry effectively founded the profession of Medical Examiner during his attempts to catch Jack the Ripper, and he had a feud/rivalry with Hemingway. Adam was being experimented on by Josef Mengele in Auschwitz and, as such, would never harm anyone who survived the camps.
  • Exposition Victim: Henry has a bad habit of confronting killers as soon as he's figured out their crime, instead of waiting for backup or even telling anyone else what he's realized. It sometimes gets him killed.
  • The Faceless: The few times Adam is onscreen, it's either from the back or with the camera focusing on his lower body. It's finally averted when he reveals his face at the end of "Skinny Dipper".
  • Fair Cop: Alana de la Garza is drop-dead gorgeous, so of course Detective Martinez is an excellent example. The other regular police characters are not quite as amazingly stunning. Lampshaded in "Fountain of Youth" when Henry spells out how beautiful Martinez is by using scientific statistics (i.e., the ideality of the proportions of her facial features). She replies that in her line of work, her looks are more of a liability than an asset.
  • Fallen Hero: What Adam claims to be. He says he was once "a good and decent man" just like Henry, whose first death came trying to save someone's life. After over two thousand years of living, he's become jaded and uncaring, a casual killer who torments Henry just for the novelty (and possibly to try to prove that he's right that his own fall was inevitable).
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo:
    • Henry and Abigail adopted baby Abraham in 1945, but although he has always considered Henry his father, Abe had to start calling Henry by his first name when he started looking more like an older brother...then a younger brother...until during the series Abe's ex-wife (who had never met Henry to avoid the issue of him not aging) assumes Henry is Abe's son.
    • Henry and Abigail have been together since 1945, when Abigail was 24 and Henry looked 34. In the flashback in "Memories of Murder" in 1982, Henry tries to take Abigail out for dinner and dancing for their anniversary, but Abigail comes home in tears because people assumed Henry was her son, not her husband.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • Quoted word for word by Henry about the victim of the week, a ballerina:
      Henry Morgan: For her, not being able to dance would be a fate worse than death.
    • Adam's eventual fate in the finale, courtesy of Henry inducing Locked-in Syndrome by injecting air into his brain stem and causing an embolism. The victim is left fully conscious, but unable to speak or move. Visiting him in the hospital, Henry reassures him that they'll find a way out of the situation eventually; after all, they have eternity together.
  • Fauxreigner:
    • In "Skinny Dipper" Henry's new therapist Dr. Lewis Farber has a British accent and claims to be from London, but is actually his stalker Adam. As he's originally from the Roman Republic he's still a foreigner, but not the sort he was pretending to be.
    • The fake British noble in "The Man In the Killer Suit" is really a bike messenger from Oklahoma.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences:
    • Henry and Abe finish each other's sentences when making up an on-the-spot cover story of how they know each other.
    • Henry finishes Lucas's sentences at one point at the end of "Best Foot Forward," and it's implied this isn't the first time.
      Lucas Wahl: Yeah, you're doing that thing where you—
      Henry Morgan: —finish your sentences? Yes.
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest:
    • Henry's First Love Nora, who pressured him to tell her what happened to him on the ship (his first death and resurrection), then had him taken to an asylum when he told her, which led to literal torture he eventually had to kill himself to escape. As if that experience didn't scar him enough about telling anyone his secret, decades later she reappeared, now believing in his immortality but wanting to tell the world about it, ending with her trying to shoot him in front of witnesses and killing Henry's new love interest, Anne, instead.
    • Abigail may have been Henry's second wife, but there are shades of this trope in his reaction to her disappearance and its effect on any potential romance with Molly or Jo, too.
    • Jo's First Love with her husband Sean ended with his unexpected death of a heart attack, and Jo turns to drinking and casual sex to bury the pain. She eventually heals, in large part thanks to Henry.
  • Flash Back: There are lots of them.
    • Every time Henry dies his whole life literally flashes before his eyes. A collection of Stock Footage is used for this, but varying which specific images each time since he can die repeatedly, with different images of Henry breaking the water's surface afterwards (clutching his throat after it was slit, or with a background of a historical Manhattan skyline instead of a modern one when he resurrects during a flashback).
    • He also has flashbacks nearly every episode triggered by present-day dialogue or the events of his current case.
  • Flashback B-Plot: Has this in pretty much every episode, since Henry has been around for over two hundred years and every current situation reminds him of something in his past. A few flashbacks are only long enough to provide insight into characters rather than fully-fledged B-plots. One flashback from Adam's point of view shows the horrific treatment he received from Dr. Josef Mengele but doesn't actually have a plot, only relevance to the current-day situation.
  • Flowers of Romance: Isaac sends Jo a huge bouquet of flowers as part of his courtship of her. Hanson encourages her to accept Isaac's offer of dinner, as Isaac has been cleared of suspicion in the murder case that brought them together.
  • Food as Characterization: Used regularly.
    • Henry drinks cognac "the older the better" or orders whiskey by name and year, showing his vast knowledge and sophistication, as well as making coffee or tea at home through more elaborate processes instead of drip/instant or tea bags, a holdover from his earlier days when such conveniences weren't available. He's shown at least once enjoying a full English breakfast, complete with tomato and beans.
    • Jo, meanwhile, orders "whiskey, whatever's well" and pigs out on a gyro that nauseates Henry. She's known for eating most of her meals at her desk, showing that she has little life outside of work since her husband died.
    • Abe cooks, a lot, using food to show love by making Henry's favorites after unpleasant deaths and making him a soup "guaranteed to cure colds and bullet wounds" after he's been shot. His cooking skills clearly came down from his mother, showing how close they were, and how much she is still missed when he makes dishes she used to make.
  • Forensic Accounting: Jo points out to a woman preparing to take the fall for her boss that if she's getting paid to do it, forensic accountants will be able to prove it, so she'll spend a decade or more in jail and have nothing to show for it.
  • Fountain of Youth: In episode 3, "Fountain of Youth," the drug "Aeterna" is introduced, advertised as making people younger... except people taking it are dying of horrific brain damage, like they have Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and Huntington's all at once. The pure form of the drug actually works as advertised without any apparent side effects; it's just that using stem cells was too expensive. They started harvesting pituitary glands from human corpses, which was far cheaper but gave the patients a prion disease that basically ate holes in their brains.
  • Forbidden Love: Henry meets Abigail when she's 24 or 25, at the end of World War II, when the difference in their apparent ages is in the socially acceptable direction as Henry looks forever 34. By the 1982 flashback in "Memories of Murder" the apparent age gap has flipped directions and grown to almost three decades, and when Henry tries to take Abigail out for a night of dinner and dancing to celebrate their anniversary, Abigail sees people staring at them and whispering disapproval at Henry being romantic with a woman more than old enough to be his mother.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the first episode Jo says the person who bought Henry a 300-year-old pocket watch as a gift must haved cared a lot about him. Henry supposes she did, "but then she came to her senses and left me." Near the end of the season, we learn that Abigail seemingly ran out on Henry because she had aged and felt too old for him, and Henry fell apart for over a year.
    • Adam knows about the Jack the Ripoff murder in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" before word has gotten out to the press. But someone working closely with the police, who has clearance to hear about cases in progress, would have a chance to hear about a case that a lot of cops were talking about.
    • In "Diamonds Are Forever", during a shootout Detective Dunn is heard telling the suspect to freeze and the suspect is heard saying, "What the hell, man!" We learn at the end that the two were working together. The suspect is shocked because his partner in crime is turning on him.
  • Frame-Up:
    • Adam Adam frames Henry for murder in "Skinny Dipper" and frames a mental patient as the fall guy, tricking Henry into thinking Abe's life is in danger and Henry can save him by 'killing' the man he thinks is his immortal stalker — leading to Henry killing a mortal for the first time.
    • In "Diamonds Are Forever," an ex-con is framed for a jewelery store robbery before being killed. However, Henry's knowledge from the autopsy combined with a Sherlock Scan of the robbery scene suggests his innocence early into the episode.
  • Fresh Clue: In "The Last Death of Henry Morgan," Henry finds that a body is still warm and the blood still wet, meaning the victim was killed very recently and the killer is likely still close. While the cops spread out to look for the killer, Henry discovers the victim isn't actually dead yet, although Adam is certain it's too late to save him.
  • Friendless Background: In the pilot, Henry gets a call from someone who identifies himself to Lucas as a friend, which Lucas tells Jo is weird because Henry doesn't have any friends. It's basically true; aside from Abe, who is family rather than friend, Henry doesn't seem to have anyone to share his life with at this point. According to Abe, Henry hasn't let anyone get close to him since losing Abigail.
  • Frontier Doctor: Henry traveled in North America in the mid-19th century, working for the Hudson's Bay Company and exploring as far as the Klondike decades before its famous gold rush.
  • Gasp of Life: Given that Henry revives in a large body of water, gasping for air as he breaks the surface is the usual.
  • Gaussian Girl: Used in some of the flashbacks when Abigail is at her youngest, most noticeably in "Look Before You Leap" in Italy when Abigail catches up to Henry after he tries to leave her at the hotel.
  • Gene Hunting: Played With. Abe starts researching his family tree after he discovers his biological parents' names. He's quick to point out to Henry, however, that it doesn't change the fact that he sees Henry as his real father. He has known Henry and Abigail adopted him for at least 50 years by this point; it's not a wangsty "Who am I?" search but rather simple curiosity. Further played with when Abe's search reveals that he and Henry actually are related: Henry's uncle from 200 years ago is one of Abe's ancestors, making them first cousins many times removed.
  • Gentleman Detective: While working with Jo, Henry often fills this role. Henry was a gentleman, in the days when that still meant something. He is highly educated, being a medical doctor as well as having gained over two centuries of extra knowledge and experience. He has perfect pitch and appreciates opera and classical music. He speaks several languages and has traveled extensively. He also dresses more formally than expected for someone who works for the City of New York.
  • The Gentleman or the Scoundrel: Isaac versus Henry as potential love interests for Jo. On the surface it might seem that the well-dressed, well-mannered, well-educated Henry, who was actually raised a literal gentleman, would fit the first role, and fast-talking Isaac, who was born poor and fought for everything he has, would be the second, but their ideas of the perfect trip to Paris illustrate how it's actually the other way round. Isaac wants to plan out every minute, nice and safe, doubtless traveling by nice, safe, private cars and staying in secure, fancy hotels. Henry would stay at a regular small hotel or boarding house, get up every morning and set out in a random direction, and just explore wherever the roads take them, eating at whatever cafe is closest when they get hungry, leaving what they see and how safely they see it to chance. Isaac is the safe choice, whereas Henry is the one who challenges and excites Jo.
  • Get It Over With: When Henry is kidnapped in "The Ecstasy of Agony" and wakes up chained to a Saint Andrew's Cross, he politely asks his captor to kill him quickly. The request is denied, as he's looking forward to torturing Henry and wants to enjoy it.
  • Gilligan Cut: In the pilot, when Abe realizes Henry wants to determine the poison used by being killed by it himself, Abe declares "Absolutely not!" Cut to Henry's lab as they prepare to inject him with the poisoned blood.
  • Godwin's Law: Henry accuses the sociopathic Adam of being the type of person who would be chummy with the Nazi regime. Adam corrects him by revealing he went through torture at Auschwitz, and especially hates Nazis because of it.
  • Golf Clubbing: In "The Man In the Killer Suit" the father of the victim of a con man used one of his golf clubs to hit the con man over the head. Turns out he's not the killer, though.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Henry is, after over two hundred years, very good at reading people (and corpses) at a glance and not at all intimidated by being arrested and questioned after a mass murder. His co-workers describe him as "creepy" in the pilot and he has no qualms about discussing others' faults (such as Det. Martinez's drinking problem after losing her husband, or revealing a suspect's infidelity to his wife). When faced with Adam, a stalker who is a fellow immortal, he eventually uses an air embolism to cause Locked-In Syndrome in order to keep him from hurting anyone else.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Henry engages in a rare bout of this in the flashback of "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" when he finds out Abigail was physically abused by another soldier. Despite the other man being over a head taller, Henry seems to be holding his own until the other man pulls a switchblade and stabs Henry, leading to him dying in Abigail's arms.
  • Good Samaritan: In the flashbacks for "New York Kids," Henry tries to help a man who's been shot, only to be shot himself because he's now a witness.
  • Good Stepmother: The episode "The King of Columbus Circle" concludes with Lydia, the illegitimate daughter of the deposed King of Urkesh, meeting her father's wife after his death. Based on available information, the king and his wife couldn't have children, and his wife was unaware of her husband's illegitimate offspring until recently, but when Lydia meets her 'step-mother' in the hospital, the woman expresses joy at the chance to meet her husband's grandchild despite the circumstances, as it allows the Urkesh bloodline to continue.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: After two hundred years Henry is rather blasé about his personal safety! routinely walking out into traffic or climbing onto a precarious ledge looking for clues. Then there's the stuff like injecting himself with a poison as the quickest way to find out which poison it is.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Averted in a flashback in "The Night In Question," when the camera shows Abigail slitting her own throat and blood starting to pour out of the cut, and again in the next episode, "The Last Death of Henry Morgan," when Adam does the same to himself to avoid discovery by the police.
  • Gratuitous Greek: The professor in "Look Before You Leap" tosses around ancient Greek repeatedly, and Henry proves he's equally fluent, spotting an ungrammatical error in a Greek quote in a supposed suicide note which was written by one of the professor's grad students who presumably had been studying Ancient Greek. Justified in that, in the era Henry was first educated, learning Greek and Latin was considered a basic skill for the wealthy who could afford a real education.
  • Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks:
    • The killer in the pilot has a home lab in his garage with numerous flasks and beakers with bright purple residue from the aconite plants.
    • Henry's own home lab is mostly an aversion, as his flasks and beakers are visible tucked away in a cabinet, but sometimes a few will be in use. He does have lots of other common laboratory cliches, such as anatomy posters and various once-living things in jars.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: At the end of "Punk Is Dead" the gang are out together for karaoke, and when Henry sees Jo kissing Isaac enthusiastically, his smile fades and he looks distinctly unhappy, although he pastes on a smile when Jo looks over at him so as not to disturb her happiness.
    Henry: Yes, some memories are precious, and we need to hang on to them. But Emily Dickinson wrote, 'Forever is composed of nows,' and she's right. If we root ourselves too deeply in the past, we'll miss what's right in front of us.
  • Grow Old with Me: Though Henry can't physically grow old, this is essentially what he wants with Abigail. He's happy to spend the rest of her life with her, no matter what the rest of the world may think. Eventually he learns that Abigail came to the same decision, and had found an isolated little home in the country where they could have lived out the rest of her days in peace, but she died before she could mail him the letter asking him to come join her there.
  • Guile Hero:
    • In "The King of Columbus Circle", the head of the Urkesh consulate can't safely help Jo and Henry in their investigation while in his office, but he makes do. When they first show up, he stonewalls them in his office but then meets them out front under the pretense of getting food from a truck. Later, they suspect an employee of the consulate of poisoning the late king and his wife and go there to ask for his employee record. The head of the consulate says they cannot release personal information of employees. Henry gets confrontational about it.
      Secretary Consulate General: I wish that I could help you... As I wish that I could help the young woman who visited earlier and claimed kinship to the king.note 
      Henry Morgan: Lydia...
      [Henry rushes out. Jo turns to go as well.]
      Secretary Consulate General: Detective.
      [Jo turns back around.]
      Secretary Consulate General: You forgot your newspaper.
      [He indicates a newspaper on his desk, inside of which is the suspect's employee record.]
    • Henry asks Lucas to fetch a dagger from evidence for him. Lucas says he can't: Jo already told him Henry would ask and that if Lucas obliged, he would be fired and maybe even prosecuted. He suggests with unusual assertiveness that Henry do some paperwork that's on his desk. Henry goes to his office and finds the dagger hidden in the pile of paperwork.
  • Gun Struggle: In the pilot, when Henry confronts the bad guy on the roof of Grand Central, Henry hits him with a wrench, and a struggle for the gun ensues. There's a shot, and each man is shown with a look of surprise consistent with being hit, before Henry slowly collapses to the ground.
  • Hacker Collective: The episode "Social Engineering" features a hacktivist group called "the Faceless", another counterpart to Anonymous. When one of their members is murdered, the NYPD's investigation puts Henry's secret immortality at risk, as the main suspect (another member) threatens to expose his false records if he doesn't help them escape.
  • Hairpin Lockpick: In "The Pugilist's Break" Jo and Henry watch a suspect leave a package in the rec center, but find the door is locked when they try to go inside to investigate. Jo tells Henry, "I got this," and proceeds to pull a hairpin out of her updo and use it to pick the lock. Henry correctly guesses she learned how from her criminal father.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: Given how Henry is Naked on Revival after each death, and the show was made for broadcast television, this trope naturally comes into play. The first time we see Henry die and revive, he comes out of the East River on what is clearly a very cold day (so he can't just swim until he finds a discreet spot to emerge). He covers himself with his hands until two police officers approach him, at which point he raises first one hand, then the other in surrender. In "Look Before You Leap" he's using an old pizza box to cover himself when Abe arrives to give him a ride home.
  • Hanging Around: In the flashback of "Diamonds Are Forever" Henry is transferred from the asylum to a prison, and his new cellmate, a priest, not only believes Henry's tale of immortality, but helps him escape by hanging himself. The ceiling is too low for a proper neck-breaking drop, but the priest calculates that if Henry drops with both their weights instead of only his own, it should snap his neck quickly and cleanly instead of a slow, agonizing death by choking. He's right, and we see the shadow of Henry hanging from the noose for only a few seconds, then a flash of light, and then the noose swinging empty.
  • Happily Married:
    • Henry and Abigail, for at least three decades; it's unclear exactly when Abigail started becoming unhappy with the age gap.
    • Although we only see Sean once, on a video deposition, there's every indication Jo and Sean were this before his death.
    • Henry and Nora seem to have been this until after Henry's first death.
  • Has a Type:
    • Henry's first wife, Nora, and his next on-screen love interest, Anne, are both petite brunettes. Later, after his life with blonde Abigail, he goes for a blonde cello player and the blonde Molly Dawes.
    • Henry could also be said to go for nurses (Anne and Abigail) although that could be a side effect of him working as a doctor, so that most of the women he meets would be medical personnel. Therapist Molly Dawes could be said to fit this too.
    • When Henry comments on the mathematical, objective attractiveness of Jo's face in "Fountain of Youth," he adds that personally, he prefers a more flawed look.
    • Molly Dawes says in "The Ecstasy of Agony" that the Victim of the Week wasn't her type, she goes for the lone wolves. (Bonus points for saying this to loner Henry!)
  • Heal It With Fire: In the pilot, a suspect throws poison on Jo's hand. It's already started to penetrate Jo's skin, so Henry neutralizes it by squirting ethanol over the area, then setting it on fire and not letting her put it out for several seconds.
  • Heartbroken Badass:
    • Jo is a tough cop, but was devastated when she lost her husband Sean.
    • Henry is heartbroken when his first wife, Nora, betrays his trust; after she insists repeatedly, Henry finally tells her about his becoming immortal, and she not only doesn't believe him, but has him put in an asylum. He's even more devastated when Abigail, his wife of forty years, leaves him because of the growing apparent age gap.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Baby Abraham is absolutely adorable, especially in "Look Before You Leap" when he's smiling and laughing despite the bleak circumstances of having just been orphaned and rescued from a concentration camp, a little bit of joy when Henry and Abigail doubtless really needed it.
  • He Had a Name: Hanson dismisses the victim in "The Pugilist Break" as "ADJ" (Another Dead Junkie), but Henry insists that the man had a name, that he mattered to someone. When they learn the man's name, Henry lampshades it.
  • He Knows Too Much:
    • Henry decides this of the mysterious caller. His plan of silencing the caller, in an interesting subversion of the trope, is simply to move far away and outlive the person. Of course, as he finds out at the end of the episode, the other person is also immortal, so outliving him isn't an option.
    • In the flashback of "New York Kids" Henry comes across a bookie (or their enforcer) shooting a client who couldn't pay his debts. Henry identifies himself as a doctor and tries to help the victim, but the shooter points out Henry is now a witness, and shoots him as well.
  • Held Gaze:
    • When Henry and Abigail meet, they can barely keep their eyes off each other, especially Henry. They share many other held gazes through their many years together.
    • Jo and Henry share one on occasion, usually when they're talking about their pasts. In particular, there's a heavily charged one when Jo shows up at Henry's door after ditching her boyfriend Isaac and says she realized she didn't want to go on their trip to Paris.
      Jo Martinez: I realized that I... I didn't want to go.
      Henry Morgan: What? To Paris?
      Jo Martinez: ...With Isaac. I didn't want to go with Isaac.
      [Henry swallows heavily.]
      Henry Morgan: Why?
      [Shot of long Held Gaze]
    There's another, sort-of long one at the end of the season finale when Jo comes to Henry and asks him to tell his story after finding a picture of Henry, Abigail, and Abe from the 1940s along with Henry's pocket watch lying on the ground, seemingly left behind.
    • Henry shares one with Iona/Molly when they run into each other again at NYU.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • After Abigail leaves him, Henry goes to pieces, until Abe eventually finds him passed out on the floor, surrounded by debris and an empty bottle, mumbling about the latest extremely tenuous clue he's intent in pursuing in his increasingly futile attempts to find her.
    • After being tricked into killing a man because he thought he was his immortal stalker and thus wouldn't really die, Henry is practically catatonic, until the phone rings... When he learns Dr. Farber, who he'd liked and even started to open up to, was actually his stalker Adam, his face goes back to pure shock and the phone starts to slide from his hand.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: A priest who was imprisoned with Henry convinces Henry to hang himself (and thus resurrect outside the facility) because he believes Henry's ability is a gift from God and he has much good to do in the world. When Henry protests that the authorities will assume the priest helped him escape and this will lead to the priest being punished, he shrugs it off as something worth going through in order to do the right thing.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Adam starts out as The Voice on the telephone, then becomes The Faceless to the audience for a few seconds at the end of "Look Before You Leap," and for Henry at the end of "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths." His face is finally shown to Henry and the viewer at the same time at the end of "Skinny Dipper."
  • Hidden Depths: Adam says he would never harm a hair on Abe's head, because Abe was a prisoner in Auschwitz and Adam has experienced the evils of the Nazi regime firsthand.
  • Hideous Hangover Cure: In "Diamonds Are Forever" Jo goes on a drinking binge after having to work on a case relating to her late husband. She wakes up on the couch at Henry and Abe's place, with Abe standing by with his patented hangover cure, which is described as "awful" but apparently works.
  • High Heel Hurt: In "Fountain of Youth" Henry points out a woman dressed to the nines wearing spike heels, commenting that a woman in heels that high doesn't do a lot of walking, she gets driven places.
  • High on Homicide: Adam calls Henry after he's manipulated Henry into killing a mortal for the first time. He talks about how it feels, and interestingly, Henry doesn't deny it….
    Adam: You just killed a man. There's no other rush like it, taking a life. It's thrilling, tell me I'm wrong!
  • High-Voltage Death: In "The Ecstasy of Agony" the victim was killed by electrocution, in this case a steady current that prevented the muscles of his diaphragm from working so that he suffocated. The killer attempts to electrocute Henry in the finale, but Henry manages to grab ahold of the killer's arm so that the current passes through him, too, disabling him long enough for the cops to move in.
  • Historical Domain Character: A flashback to a party in 1929 Paris shows that Henry was part of the in-crowd among the artists of the time. His friends (or at least acquaintances) knew he wouldn't knowingly show up to a party, so Pablo Picasso suggested tricking him into coming by having the hostess tell him she was sick. Ernest Hemingway thinks Henry needs to get out more, seeing as they're in Paris, and mentions he'd stolen Henry's girlfriend the week before and has already moved on from her.
    Valerie: I won't have you spoiling my celebration by fighting with Hemingway again.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In "The Ecstasy of Agony," Henry has been kidnapped and is being tortured by Molly's stalker. When the police arrive to arrest him he attempts to kill Henry with maximum voltage. However, the villain is positioned in such a way that Henry - who is bound at his wrists - can grab ahold of his arm, allowing the current to flow through him, too. The stalker collapses and Henry is saved.
  • Holding Your Shoulder Means Injury: After being shot near the end of "New York Kids" Henry holds his other hand over the wounded shoulder, presumably applying pressure to control bleeding.
  • Hollywood Density: It's the relative densities of air and natural gas that are confused in "Social Engineering" when the gas is described as being heavier than air and thus filling the room from the bottom up; in reality natural gas is lighter than air, so it should be filling the room from the ceiling down.
  • Hollywood Old: Abigail Morgan is played by MacKenzie Mauzy in flashbacks from 1945 to the Vietnam War era, with only changes in clothes and hairstyles to show the passage of time. Averted when the age-appropriate Janet Zarish played the role in 1982 and 1985 flashbacks.
  • Honor Before Reason: In the first episode, Henry refuses to compromise his ethics and step aside to allow an African captive to be killed, even though the captain is ready to shoot him if he doesn't, and once he's dead they'll kill the man anyway. In "Dead Men Tell Long Tales" we learn he's also putting in jeopardy his plan to free all three hundred Africans on board the ship.
  • Hopeless with Tech: Henry hasn't kept up with modern technology; he's able to use other peoples' cell phones but thinks taking a .jpg picture and emailing it requires explanation, and he uses a computer terminal in the morgue but is a very slow typist.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: The episode "Skinny Dipper" relentlessly reminds us it's the Christmas episode, from caroles playing while a cabbie is skewered with a sword to a car passing by with a Christmas tree tied on top as Henry suffers a Heroic BSoD from all the trauma he's gone through in the episode.
  • Hospital Epilogue: Seen in the pilot, where Henry and Jo end their adventure with Jo waking up in the hospital, being treated for the gunshot sustained on the roof of Grand Central, and Henry has come to visit her.
  • Human Resources: "Fountain of Youth" sees a dozen bodies stolen so their pituitary glands could be used in an anti-aging treatment.
  • Human Shield: At the end of "Look Before You Leap" the killer takes Henry hostage with a scalpel blade over his carotid artery. Jo and Hanson pin him down and it's Henry who suggests they Shoot the Hostage (in the shoulder, at a range where the bullet would likely pass through into the hostage-taker as well).

    I-M 

  • I Am a Humanitarian: Several people unknowingly (and one knowingly) in "Fountain of Youth". The chemist who was making the de-aging drug wanted to use stem cells, but her partner forced her to cut corners, so she started using human pituitary glands harvested from pilfered corpses.
  • I Can Explain: In "The Ecstasy of Agony" Jo comes to arrest a dominatrix only to find Henry "tied up" in her office. Henry executes this trope only for Jo to tell him he doesn't have to.
  • Iconic Item: Henry's pocket watch. Henry carries it all the time, and it's a recurring motif throughout the series. It has a habit of slipping out of his pocket at critical moments.
    • A family heirloom, it was the only gift he would accept from his father, since it didn't come from the profits of slavery.
    • It was lost at sea when Henry had his first death, the watch and Henry's body slowly sinking together into the depths.
    • After it was rediscovered, Abigail bought it at auction for him, making it a gift from a loved one twice over.
    • When Jo finds it in the wrecked subway car in the first episode it leads to Henry becoming involved in investigations and reconnecting with other people for the first time in decades.
    • When Jo finds it on the sidewalk in "The Ecstasy of Agony" this is what convinces her something has happened to Henry and leads to his being rescued from Molly's stalker.
    • When Henry drowns in the back of the taxi in "Skinny Dipper" the watch slips out of his pocket, for Jo to find when they search the car later. At that point they brush it off, but it's a prelude to Adam framing Henry for the killings.
    • When Jo finds it in the abandoned subway station in "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" it lets her know that Henry had been there. It's likely why Jo searched the area further, leading to her discovering the photo of Henry, Abigail, and baby Abe, which leads to her giving Henry one last chance to explain things to her; he appears to be doing when the episode ends. Jo returning it to Henry in the last scene Bookends the pilot episode's similar scene.
  • Identifying the Body: Henry works as a Medical Examiner, so this happens several times. As in real life, it's normally done by photographs rather than seeing the actual body.
    • In "Look Before You Leap" the victim's parents barge into an area they aren't supposed to enter and wind up seeing their daughter's body directly.
    • In the flashback for "Punk Is Dead" Henry and Abe go to identify a body believed to be Abigail's. It isn't.
  • If Only You Knew: Used frequently. In "Dead Men Tell Long Tales" Lucas has been making terrible pirate jokes because the case involves treasure hunters recovering goods from a sunken ship. A skeleton is found, and when Henry and Lucas examine it, there's evidence the man was shot. Lucas jokes in a Hollywood pirate voice that there won't be any "''aye''-witnesses" to the crime. What he doesn't know is that Henry was on that very ship, spoke to the man in question, and was killed for the first time there, possibly with the same gun! (But, as Henry was killed and his body tossed overboard before the man's death, he is indeed not an eye-witness.)
  • Ignored Enamored Underling: Lucas is a platonic version. He keeps trying to become friends with Henry, asking him to go out for a beer, some music, a club, or the like, and he gently (or not so subtly) probes for more information about Henry pretty much every episode. Henry rebuffs him off-hand, with no interest in getting closer to any mortal, but eventually he warms to Lucas, and by the end of the series he's not only gone to a karaoke bar with the gang, he's paid Lucas real compliments and trusted him with a few secrets (although not yet the big one).
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Henry, who has lived 235 years, wants to experience the cycle of life and grow old, eventually dying and perhaps seeing Abigail again in the next world.
  • Immigrant Parents: Henry and Abigail are both British, but move to New York while Abraham is still a baby. He grows up in America and has a typical New York Jewish accent. It's implied that they sometimes had to move away from New York, or even North America, for varying periods of time, but were in one place until Abe was ten or twelve, prime age for an accent to become fixed, and came back to New York frequently. Henry at least kept many British habits and his British accent.
  • Immortal Apathy: Adam turns out to be a case of this, he admits to Doctor Henry Morgan that he was originally as compassionate and empathetic as Henry is now. Like Henry, the event that caused his first death was attempting to protect someone, in Adam's case trying to save Julius Caesar from the assassins. However, after two thousand years he has become distanced from humanity and overall bitter with existence in general, to the point he no longer cares about random innocents' deaths as they are insignificant to him. Adam targets Henry simply because interacting with another immortal is the first new concept he's faced in millennia. Henry is tormented by the possibility that if he doesn't find a cure for his own immortality, that he too might one day become as callous.
  • Immortal Breaker: Adam reasons that the weapons that caused an immortal's first death can serve as this if they are used to kill the immortal again. Subverted: Henry revives despite being shot with the gun that killed him the first time. (Word of God says Adam was just plain wrong, but Fanon speculates about whether it might be because the bullet was what killed Henry, not the gun itself.)
  • Immortal Genius: Henry has vast stores of knowledge about history, medicine, forensics, and much more.
  • Immortality: The only truly fantastical element in the show, although Henry and Adam's immortality follows certain rules:
    • Resurrective Immortality/Resurrection Teleportation: If either of them die, their body disappears (clothes and all), and they wake up naked in the closest large body of water completely uninjured. This ability helps Henry escape prison in the 1810's.
    • The Ageless: However, if they do not die, they continue living without aging. This is the reason why Abigail left Henry in the 1980s, as she was naturally growing older whereas he was stuck at a biological age 35. That said, any injuries will heal normally unless a death "resets" them.
    • Combined, however, the above two situations could lead to either immortal getting stuck with a lifelong injury until they have another death. This happens to Adam by the end of the finale, who is stuck agelessly with Locked-In Syndrome, meaning that he could potentially spend decades or even centuries with the condition if his next death is prevented.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • The pilot starts with Henry in a subway accident, getting impaled through the chest on a torn metal railing. He later records in his journal the nature and location of his injuries and the level of pain on a scale of 1-to-10 (the pole is rated a seven). Presumably, he does this with each new type of death he experiences.
    • When Mark Bentley stabs Henry in the back as he's leaving the Frenchman's in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths," you can see the tip of the blade emerge from the front of Henry's abdomen; his hand is over it when Bentley twists the blade to speed Henry's death.
    • Adam runs taxi driver Raj Patel through with a katana in "Skinny Dipper" as part of his plan to frame Henry. The blade goes through the entire driver's seat and then through Raj's chest, emerging through his sternum, all in a single smooth blow. Henry lampshades how much strength and skill this would require, but Adam does have over two thousand years of experience.
  • Inadvertent Entrance Cue: A rather ominous example in "Hitler On the Half Shell." Henry gives the title of a painting, which translates to "Angel of Death"; cue Adam entering Abe's antique store.
  • Inconspicuous Immortal: Henry lives a quiet life, in the past mostly as a medical doctor, currently as a medical examiner for the Office of Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York. He is shy of publicity (especially after a newspaper article led to his now-elderly first wife finding him, with disastrous consequences) and although he has a reputation of being a quirky know-it-all who's a bit creepy, he generally avoids interacting with mortals more than he has to, aside from his son Abraham and, for forty years, his wife Abigail. If someone from his past recognizes him or someone hints they've learned his secret, it's enough to send him moving to another continent until he outlives the danger. He gradually gets better about this during the series.
  • Inconvenient Attraction: In "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" Henry is emoting about Adam being a danger to Jo, that he'll hurt her to get at his pugio (a reasonable fear given that Henry has already seen the remains of multiple people Adam tortured to death in pursuit of it).
    Henry: All this would be easier if I didn't...whatever feelings I have for Jo are not relevant. I know what I have to do, whether she hates me for it or not.
  • Inconvenient Hippocratic Oath: Subverted in the episode "New York Kids". A flashback to the 1950s sees Henry attempt to save a man who was shot in a botched robbery, despite the fact that he is dying himself, but when he hears other people coming, Henry crawls away to hide and basically leaves his would-be patient to die in order to preserve his secret. He feels so guilty about breaking his oath that he decides he can no longer be a practicing physician.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison:
    • In "The Man In the Killer Suit", the Victim of the Week was pretending to be a British noble to con a wealthy family. When Jo and Henry interview the victim's fiancée's father, he mentions Dwight (the victim) having been from Oklahoma, which they never told him. He claims his daughter told him, but the police didn't tell her, either (they only told her Dwight's real name and job). The father then admits that Dwight came to him and confessed.
    • In "Diamonds are Forever", Detective Dunn gives himself away as an accomplice in the crime Jo is investigating when he mentions that Jo's house is in Washington Heights. As her husband was a prosecutor and therefore suffered the occupational hazard of having a lot of people want him dead, their address was kept secret even from the police. She never told him where she lives, so the only way he could know is if he'd been there before. He was the one who murdered the Victim of the Week, who was trying to knock on Jo's door at the time.
  • Informed Ability: The song "6 A.M." is hailed by many characters as a seminal jazz piece, so revolutionary and so evocative that it changed the genre. The audience never actually hears more than a few bars.
  • In It for Life: Henry's commitment to both Abigail and Abraham. Henry was ready to stay with Abigail no matter how much older than him she grew to look, and Abigail eventually realized she felt the same, finding an out-of-the-way cottage where they could have spent her last days together. Henry is still just as devoted to Abraham as when he was a child, and clearly will be to his death.
    Abigail: What could be more simple than making an impulsive commitment for the rest of your life?
  • Injured Limb Episode: Hanson gets this in "Diamonds Are Forever" when he gets shot early in the episode. He needs help doing such simple tasks as putting on his coat after, looks pale and in pain, and has to sit out more athletic events.
  • In Love with the Mark: In "The Man In the Killer Suit" a former bike messenger has been coached how to successfully fake being an English nobleman and become engaged to a beautiful heiress as part of a scheme to con her father out of money. When he has gotten a check for a million dollars out of the father, he tears it up and tells his partner he's fallen in love with the mark, and plans to tell her the truth and beg her forgiveness in the hope she will still love the real him.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Henry spends the first ten years of his relationship with Abigail thinking he's not worthy of her, that he's not the right man for her. It takes Gloria Carlyle in "The Art of Murder" to talk some sense into him.
  • Instant Death Stab:
    • In "Skinny Dipper" Big Bad Adam kills cabbie Raj Patel by thrusting a sword through the back of his seat and straight through his chest, impaling the heart and emerging through his sternum. He barely has a chance to look a little surprised, and is dead before the sword is withdrawn.
    • Adam also evades the police in "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" by cutting his own throat, which is shown as causing him to die and vanish instantaneously. In "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" he also does a twisted version of Mercy Kill on Henry when he's suffered a slowly fatal stab wound and a broken back and is in danger of dying in front of Jo and thus revealing his own immortality; Adam cuts his throat, again causing him to vanish and reappear in the East River instantaneously.
    • Deliberately averted by the killer in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" when he stabs Henry clean through his chest, but in a way that punctures his lung and nicks his vena cava but avoids the heart and major arteries. This leaves Henry dying painfully for several minutes, unable to scream due to blood preventing his lungs from inflating much.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: In "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" Henry vehemently insists that there's no real connection between the two victims. Lucas immediately walks in and declares that he's found a connection between them.
  • Internal Affairs: This is who Lieutenant Reese calls in to handle things when Jo has to arrest a small-town sheriff for murder in "The Night In Question."
  • Internal Reveal:
    • In the flashbacks of "The Ecstasy of Agony" Henry tells his wife Nora about his immortality. She has him carted off to an asylum.
    • Adam is aiming for this in "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" when he shoots Henry fatally, knowing Jo is nearby and intending for Jo to watch Henry disappear when he dies.
    • The final scene of the series has Jo confronting Henry with a photo of himself, Abigail, and baby Abraham from 1945, asking him to explain it to her. Henry appears to be doing so as he begins, "It's a long story…"
  • Interrogated for Nothing: In "The Last Death of Henry Morgan," Henry and the detectives find a man who's been tortured to death, his body still warm, meaning the killer may still be nearby. As the police sweep the building, Adam reveals himself to Henry and tells him that he did this to the man trying to find his pugio; the man didn't have it, but Adam hadn't believed him so he tortured him to try to get information the man didn't have.
  • In the Back:
    • In the pilot, the killer shoots Jo in the back, possibly having watched and waited for her to turn.
    • In "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" Henry is stabbed from behind with a knife long enough for the tip to emerge from the other side. The killer says it went through his lung and vena cava.
    • In "Skinny Dipper" Adam stabs cabbie Raj Patel in the back, through the seat between them.
  • Isn't It Ironic?: At the end of the pilot, the song that plays over Henry and Abigail meeting sings about New York, a place Abigail at least has never been, while their meeting is taking place at a liberated concentration camp in Germany, and is a song about a long-distance relationship when Henry and Abigail were never really apart from that time on until the very end.
  • Is That Cute Kid Yours?: At the end of "The King of Columbus Circle" Jo is holding the King's grandchild in the hospital hallway, talking with Henry, and she passes the baby to him. A passing nurse compliments them on how cute their baby is. Jo is quick to deny any relationship.
  • It Amused Me: Adam's reason for messing with Henry's life. He's supremely bored with life after two thousand years of it, either doesn't care or won't allow himself to care about mortal lives, and says speaking to another immortal is the most exciting thing that's ever happened to him.
    Adam: We're soul mates, Henry, we have eternity together. Might as well have some fun with it!
  • It's a Long Story: These are the show's Arc Words; Henry says it both in the pilot and in the final episode, and it gets several uses or references in between. When Jo confronts Henry with a photo of Henry, Abigail, and a baby Abraham, and asks for an explanation, this is how Henry's reply starts.
  • It's Personal:
    • In "6 A.M.", Lieutenant Reece has a bit of a grudge against the head of a jazz recording studio, since he screwed her nephew out of his songs.
      Lt. Reece: We can detain him for 72 hours. And, I am going to enjoy every one of those hours.
    • There's a subtext of this in "Skinny Dipper", when the precinct find out that someone is trying to frame Henry. When Reece hands out pictures of the suspect, she tells everyone that other cops and the FBI are looking for him too, "But I want him!"
    • In "Punk is Dead", Reece, as a beat cop, felt that Eddie Warsaw's murder conviction had been based on a sloppy investigation because the department and prosecutors had simply decided it was one druggie killing another. Now that she has authority, she leaps at the chance to have it investigated properly.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: While Henry looks distinctly unhappy watching Jo enthusiastically kissing Isaac at the end of "Punk Is Dead," he still puts on a smile when she looks over at him so as not to disturb her happiness. Later, in "Best Foot Forward," he fully supports Jo going to Paris with Isaac, giving her advice on how best to see the city and telling her to have a good time with a smile.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: David Krumholtz, who plays a younger Abe in a flashback in "Punk Is Dead," played Judd Hirsch's son in NUMB3RS.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: When Henry is shot near the end of "New York Kids" he tells Jo to go after the shooter without him. Played with as Henry catches up with Jo almost as soon as she catches up to the shooter.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Henry gives a suspect with kidney disease a drink heavily laced with magnesium antacid in order to simulate a heart attack. When everyone else leaves to get help, Henry gets the information he's looking for with the threat that the man is currently dying and Henry's the only one who can save him.
  • Jack the Ripper: In "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" a Serial Killer is copying various other famous serial killers, including Jack. Flashbacks show that Henry was the doctor who examined the body of Jack's last victim, Mary Kelly. Adam also claims to have been in London at that time, leading Henry to worry that Adam might be Jack, but in the flashback Henry observes that Jack's hand left a larger than average mark on Mary's neck, and when Henry finally meets Adam in person in "Skinny Dipper" he's a fairly slight man.
  • Jack the Ripoff: The killer in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" performs heavily researched recreations (though in truth he just used a well-researched graphic novel as a "How-To" guide) of murders by famous serial killers, successfully pulling off Jack the Ripper and Black Dahlia kills, and being stopped in the middle of attempting a Boston Strangler kill.
  • Karaoke Bonding Scene: The gang go out to a karaoke bar together at the end of "Punk Is Dead." Hanson, who has been telling them all episode that he used to be in a band that played at the landmark punk bar of the story, kills it, to everyone's delight.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks:
    • A recurring theme for Henry, complicated by the fact that he's been burned so badly and so many times when people did find out his big secret that he's almost pathologically incapable of telling anyone. In "Skinny Dipper" Henry is framed for murder and he almost flees his beloved life in New York because he can't share his secret. In "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" Henry's secrets, and his trying to protect Jo from them, nearly destroy their friendship.
    • Abe is pretty cool about it, but he's never been able to introduce his ex-wife, or any other romantic interests, to his father, and growing up he had to move and leave his friends behind whenever Henry's secret was in danger.
    • Played with for Lucas. He absolutely hates keeping secrets from Henry and is very bad at it. (He's also very bad at keeping secrets from beautiful women.) However, when he's let in on the secret of Henry's hidden basement laboratory he's thrilled, and he's very cool about concealing the fact that he gave Henry the pugio in "The Last Death of Henry Morgan."
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: A strange version, as the person killed is killed to uphold his own masquerade. A serial killer not only stabs Henry so he's bleeding out internally from a guaranteed fatal wound, he then stomps on Henry's broken spine. There is absolutely no way Henry could explain surviving this to Jo, who's upstairs. Adam appears, and tells Henry he's doing him a favor before slitting his throat, killing him near-instantly before Jo gets that far in her search. Henry deduces by the cut to the throat that "Adam" has killed people in this manner before.
  • Killer Cop: Detective Dunn in "Diamonds Are Forever" murders his partner in crime, and almost murders Jo.
  • The Killer Was Left-Handed:
    • One of several clues about the supposed suicide of the professor in "Look Before You Leap" is that the person who wrote his suicide note was a lefty.
    • Inverted in "Diamonds Are Forever" — the person framed for a jewelry store robbery is left-handed, so the person who committed the crime broke the display case glass with his left hand, but he had obvious difficulty breaking the glass because it wasn't his dominant hand.
  • Killing in Self-Defense:
    • When Jo is confronted by a serial killer in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" and he tries to draw a gun on her, she shoots him in the chest four times, taking him down.
    • Played with in Henry's case in "Skinny Dipper". Henry has been stalked by another immortal, Adam, since the start of the series. Adam has killed himself in front of Henry, proving he is also immortal, and has just killed two people and tried to frame Henry for their murders. The evidence shows that the stalker's real identity is Clark Walker, a psych patient who just escaped them at Bellevue. Henry arrives home to find his son nowhere to be found and Clark Walker waiting for him. Henry refuses to fight him, until he hears his son coming home upstairs, at which point a desperate struggle ensues. Henry ends up stabbing Walker with a letter opener, killing him, but when Walker fails to vanish upon death Henry realizes, to his horror, that the other man isn't Adam, isn't immortal, and is actually dead. Henry would never have killed, even in self defense, if Adam hadn't manipulated him so thoroughly.
  • A Kind of One: Henry and Adam both believe themselves to be this for most of their lives, until Adam meets Abigail and realizes she's met an immortal like him before, setting him on a thirty year quest to find Henry.
  • Kind Restraints: This is clearly what Nora intended for Henry when she had him taken to the asylum. He had been about to slit his own wrist and kill himself, and Nora honestly believed he was insane and needed to be saved from himself. Her focus was always on keeping him from hurting himself until he could get better and return to her.
  • Kinky Cuffs: In the pilot, when Jo accuses Henry of possessing "torture devices" and Henry explains blandly that they're for sex, the pictures on the table include a couple of pairs of handcuffs.
  • Kukris Are Kool: While the Frenchman is talking to Henry near the end of "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" she starts polishing some of her stock, including a kukris and a dagger with a wavy blade.
  • Labcoat of Science and Medicine: Henry wears a white lab coat while working at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner as an M. E.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • Affair Letters: In "The Art of Murder" Gloria Carlisle attempts to burn these, but a large fragment with the signature of her artist lover at the bottom survived for Henry to find. Lampshaded by Jo.
    • Adam runs taxi driver Raj Patel through with a katana in "Skinny Dipper" as part of his plan to frame Henry. The blade goes through the entire driver's seat and then through Raj's chest, emerging through his sternum, all in a single smooth blow. Henry lampshades how much strength and skill this would require, but Adam does have over two thousand years of experience.
    • Always Murder: Lampshaded in "6 A.M.", where Detective Hanson says the odds that Henry will declare a death as a murder is a sucker bet, because Henry always says that it's murder.
    • Fair Cop: Lampshaded in "Fountain of Youth" when Henry spells out how beautiful Martinez is by using scientific statistics (i.e., the ideality of the proportions of her facial features). She replies that in her line of work, her looks are more of a liability than an asset.
    • He Had a Name: Hanson dismisses the victim in "The Pugilist Break" as "ADJ" (Another Dead Junkie), but Henry insists that the man had a name, that he mattered to someone. When they learn the man's name, Henry lampshades it.
    • Sherlock Scan: Henry usually does it more than Once per Episode, and several characters compare him to Sherlock Holmes, his assigned therapist remarking that he'd "heard about [Henry's] Sherlockian talents." Abe, in particular, lampshades it frequently.
  • The Lancer:
    • Abe is this to Henry for most of his life. He brings a mortal perspective and a love of getting involved with other people, versus Henry's immortal POV and reluctance to risk getting hurt emotionally.
    • Within OCME Lucas plays this role to Henry. His youth, enthusiasm, and pop-culture-laden modernity contrast Henry's vast experience and general cluelessness about TV, movies, and graphic novels.
    • Hanson serves as Jo's lancer, her actual official partner who always has her back and puts up with Henry's antics for her sake.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Henry's first wife Nora had him committed to a mental asylum because she thought his claims of immortality proved that he was insane. Fifty years later, after Henry escapes the asylum, Nora sees his picture in the paper, realizes he was telling her the truth, and tries to convince him to share his secret, but he refuses. When she tries to reveal the truth by shooting him, she accidentally kills a nurse who took the bullet for Henry, and Nora is subsequently taken to an asylum herself.
  • Laugh of Love: At the end of "Punk Is Dead" we see Jo at the karaoke bar with the gang and her boyfriend Isaac, laughing at something he said and looking more carefree and happy than we've seen her all series.
  • Lawman Baton: A museum guard uses a telescoping baton to attack Henry in "The Last Death of Henry Morgan," having previously attacked but not killed a murder victim with the same weapon.
  • Lawman Gone Bad: A former cop who now works as a P. I. illegally bugs Iona Payne's therapy office in "The Ecstasy of Agony," using a bug he stole from the police department in the first place.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone:
    • When Henry comes home in "The Ecstasy of Agony" to find Abe and his twiceover-ex Maureen dancing and laughing, he quietly reverses course and leaves his son to enjoy the evening undisturbed.
    • After a murder attempt interrupts Jo and Isaac's date in "Dead Men Tell Long Tales," they're debriefed at the station. Lieutenant Reece gives Jo extravagant credit for saving Isaac's life, then makes up an excuse for her and Hanson to step out into the hallway, leaving Jo and Isaac alone together.
  • Left Hanging: Although the show does resolve what happened to Abigail, the identities of Abe's birth parents, and the fate of the ship Henry was sailing on during his first death, it ends with no answers about the source of the immortality curse or how Henry can break it. Along the same line, Adam is still alive and could be a threat later on if he dies again, but we won't know. As to whether or not Henry ever will tell Jo his secret, the show ends right when he's confronted with evidence, and though the dialogue implies he will tell her, we ultimately don't know for sure.
    • Word of God attempted to clear some of this up on Twitter after the cancellation (e.g., Adam would return with the help of a third immortal, and Henry telling Jo would be interrupted but she would eventually become a Secret-Keeper), but not much else — in fact, some tidbits raised even more questions.
  • Lethal Letter Opener: At the end of "Skinny Dipper" when Clark Walker, who Henry believes to be his immortal stalker at the time, confronts Henry in his home, Henry refuses to fight him until he hears his son coming home upstairs and fears for Abe's safety. At that point they get into a desperate fight, and Henry winds up grabbing a letter opener from his desk to use in self-defense. Being a medical examiner, he knows exactly where to stab Walker in order to kill him intending that he disappear and reappear far away. Henry is horrified when it actually leaves him just plain dead instead.
  • Life Imitates Art: The episode "Hitler On the Half Shell" involves a secret cache of art stolen by the Nazis, which the son who inherited them has been secretly returning to their rightful owners for years. The vault was actually filled with reproductions of various real, moderately famous works of art, including Paul Gauguin's "Still Life with Profile of Laval" which has a profile of a man who looks remarkably like Dr. Henry Morgan. They carefully composed a shot where Henry was looking at the painting with his head at the exact same angle as the man in the painting, the two right next to each other, to emphasize the similarity. Since Henry is immortal, the clear implication is that he may have been the friend of the artist depicted in the painting.
  • Limited Wardrobe: In the present day, Henry only wears variations on the same outfit: a suit, a vest, a button-up shirt, and a scarf. It appears to be a personal affectation. "The Man In the Killer Suit" introduces us to his tailor, the last tailor in New York to use a certain type of stitch. Given the fact that his clothes vanish whenever he dies, it can be assumed that he has a lot of near-identical outfits in his closet to keep people from wondering why his wardrobe keeps changing so quickly.
  • Lineage Ladder: "Hitler On the Half-Shell" has a flashback where Henry visits his father on his deathbed. Henry has cut all ties with his family and its fortune after learning his father has been engaging in the slave trade, and tells his father he will not accept any gifts from him, because it was all paid for with blood money. His father replies that what he wants to give Henry, his pocketwatch, was given to him by his father, who was given it by his father. Henry can thus accept the watch with a clear conscience.
  • Living Lie Detector: Henry sometimes seems to think he has this ability, declaring a suspect is telling the truth or is innocent based on his own assessment of their truthfulness. Sometimes played with, in that he'll say a suspect is telling the truth about one thing, but could still be guilty of the main crime.
  • Lodged-Blade Recycling: Done by Adam on Henry's behalf in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" when Henry has been impaled with a long antique knife, then suffered a broken neck, leaving him dying but unable to move and in danger of Jo discovering him. Adam pulls the knife out of Henry's back, then uses it to slit his throat so that he'll disappear before Jo finds him and sees him die.
  • Logo Joke: At the end of "The Ecstasy Of Agony", which deals with the murder of a patient of a domination therapist, the Good Session logo has the voice of the invisible therapist ("Good session.") be immediately followed by the sound of a whip cracking.
  • Lonely Together: Henry and Jo have both lost the love of their life and aren't yet over them. Jo took to drinking and meaningless one night stands, while Henry isolated himself from any new relationships. In "The Art of Murder" Henry and Jo bond over how hard it is to go back to a place where they shared happy memories with their spouse.
  • Loner-Turned-Friend: Henry starts out deliberately isolating himself from everyone but Abe, to avoid "messy emotional entanglements" and caring about people only to lose them. Lucas tried repeatedly to get to know Henry, but was politely rebuffed, and the initial impression of most of the detectives was that Henry is "creepy." After Henry is kidnapped in "The Ecstasy of Agony" and rescued by Jo and Hanson, he makes a decision to join them at the local bar, and in "Punk Is Dead" he's seen joining them for a karaoke night. At the end of "Skinny Dipper" Hanson tells another investigator, "He's one of us."
  • Look Both Ways:
    • In "Look Before You Leap," while investigating the death of an apparent bridge jumper, Henry nearly falls off the bridge, himself. Though he would have resurrected, he points out that it's one of the least pleasant ways to die. He manages to climb back onto the bridge... only to be almost immediately hit by a truck. By the time the driver comes out to check what happened, Henry's body has already vanished to reappear in the river.
    • In both "Fountain of Youth" and "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" this trope is narrowly averted as Henry casually but purposefully crosses a street with absolutely no regard for the surrounding traffic. In the former, Jo quickly pulls out her badge and flashes it at approaching cars to keep them from hitting him, a gesture Henry doesn't seem to notice, or at least pay attention to, any more than the traffic.
    • In "The Pugilist Break" a suspect who's being chased stops and turns to shoot at Henry. Before he can shoot, he's hit by a truck.
    • In "Social Engineering" a woman is tricked by a hacked walk signal into crossing the street, at which point she's hit by a car.
  • Loose Floorboard Hiding Spot: In "The Wolves of Deep Brooklyn" Henry finds small slivers of white pine under a victim's fingernails. When they visit the victim's house, the new floors are white pine, leading to Henry discovering a stash of $100,000 and a key hidden under a loose floorboard.
  • The Lost Lenore: Abigail. Henry was with her for forty years, and at the start of the series she's been gone for almost thirty. She appears in numerous flashbacks, and her ultimate fate is one of the ongoing mysteries of the series, becoming especially important in the last three episodes. Learning how she died has a major impact on how Henry views Adam and how he handles their ultimate confrontation.
  • Love at First Sight: The first time Henry sees Abigail, holding baby Abraham as snowflakes drift around them, he's clearly smitten and can barely take his eyes off her. It's later implied they have both been just as quickly taken with baby Abe, ready to turn their lives upside-down to adopt him and save him from an unknown fate in an orphanage.
    Abigail: Uh oh, you're in trouble. I don't think he's going to let you go!
  • Love Epiphany: When celebrating at a karaoke bar at the end of "Punk Is Dead", Henry watches Jo kissing Isaac enthusiastically, and the smile fades from his own face.
    Henry (voiceover): Yes, some memories are precious...and we need to hang on to them. But Emily Dickinson wrote, "Forever is composed of nows," and she's right. If we root ourselves too deeply in the past, we'll miss what's right in front of us.
  • Love Hurts:
    • Present-day Henry avoids meaningful romantic relationships because in the past they've all ended in tragedy or betrayal, and he's still mourning the loss of Abigail, his wife of forty years, complicated by the lack of closure after she disappeared. He develops real feelings for Molly Dawes, then is reminded of the pain that comes with them when she's near-fatally injured. He breaks it off with her to avoid further, future heartbreak.
    • Defied in flashbacks with Abigail, especially in "Look Before You Leap," where Henry tries to leave Abigail but she chases him down and tells him, "Who cares how it ends? Life is about the journey, no matter how long it lasts!"
    • Also notably defied in "The King of Columbus Circle", in this case in regards to Abigail's desire to try to have a baby together. Henry decides that instead of worrying about "myself and some future heartbreak," he should concentrate on the fact that he has Abigail in the here and now.
  • Luxurious Liquor: Henry's sophisticated taste in drinks mainly reflects his vast knowledge and experience, but, like his tailored suits, also indicates he has plenty of money available.
  • Lying Heroes, Honest Villains: In the finale "The Last Death of Henry Morgan," Henry is forced to lie to Jo repeatedly trying to protect her from Adam, while Adam tries to manipulate things so that Jo will see Henry die and thus learn of his secret.
  • Made of Iron: Henry is injured just as easily as anyone else, and only heals naturally or when he dies and vanishes, but he occasionally pushes through injuries that should have been incapacitating.
    • In the pilot, after getting shot, Jo is left barely conscious. Henry gets shot, and is able to not only get up, but charge the killer and tackle him hard enough to break a railing and send them both over the edge of the building doing so.
    • In "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" Henry is stabbed from behind by the killer, puncturing his lung and vena cava, and he's left on the front steps with the blade still going all the way through him, bleeding to death internally. Henry can't reach the hilt enough to remove the blade, but he struggles to his feet and staggers inside and down a hallway to attack the killer, who is in the middle of strangling the Frenchman. In the ensuing struggle, Henry is thrown back against a cabinet, then flung sideways across a door such that the doorframe slams into the hilt sideways, presumably swinging the blade through his thorax even further, but even that doesn't stop Henry. Only when they both tumble down a flight of stairs is Henry taken out of the action, by a broken neck.
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory:
    • Henry's basement lab resembles one, and Jo refers to it as his "secret cave" after searching it, describing it as containing "human organs" (Henry is a Medical Examiner) and "torture devices" ("Oh, those are for sex!"). It's entered through a trap door hidden under a rug, and there are Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks containing colored substances when they're not neatly put away in cabinets, as well as a large fish tank containing jellyfish note . It doesn't help that Henry pronounces the word "laboratory" with emphasis on the second syllable, which most Americans associate with movie mad scientists.
    • In the pilot, the Villain of the Week has created a lab in his garage, with Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks sporting bright purple residue from the aconite flowers he's creating poison with. Justifies as he's a chemist.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Probably no more guilty of this than any other cop show.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Adam, especially in "Skinny Dipper" where he manipulates Henry six ways to Sunday. He kills Henry in a way that triggers primal fears just after killing himself in front of him to prove he's immortal (doing it so casually it convinces Henry he's insane), leaving Henry traumatized and noticeably off his game in the investigation. He befriends Henry in a psychiatrist persona tailor made to appeal to Henry and put him at ease, so that Henry will trust partially-false information he gives him. And he makes Henry think a mortal psychopath is Adam himself, manipulating Henry into a position where he thinks his son is in immediate danger so that he'll be willing to fight back in a way the Actual Pacifist Henry would never do otherwise, and be willing to kill because he thinks it won't stick and it will just make the attacker vanish. Revealing at the end just who did this to him definitely won't help Henry get over his trust issues.
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: Henry's secrets are a main source of tension between him and Jo, with Jo finally getting tired of being patient in the final episode. His past and the fact he can't share it also ruin his relationship with Molly Dawes.
  • Master Poisoner: The villain of the first episode, a former chemist who uses aconite, a near-instant and incredibly painful poison from the monkshood flower, and who is planning to release it in gas form through the air conditioning at Grand Central Station as revenge on the train companies who were "responsible" for his wife's death on a subway track.
  • May–December Romance: The 22-year-old victim of "Look Before you Leap" was dating her 57-year-old colleague. He tried to break it off because he felt she deserved someone her own age and wanted her to be happy.
  • Mayfly–December Friendship:
    • Henry and Abe, the former adopting the latter as a healthy infant survivor of a concentration camp. Abe points this trope out when Henry prepares to move away to Europe to avoid and outlive the person who knows his secret. Henry could outlive the person, but Abe couldn't.
    • All of Henry's friendships are this, by definition. Lucas, Jo, Hanson, everyone he befriends will move on while he remains. According to Lucas in the pilot, Henry didn't have any friends in the three years they'd worked together, and Abe said Henry hadn't let anyone get close to him since Abigail; this is the reason.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Henry was born in 1779 and met Abigail in 1945, and they married in the mid-1950s. She knew his secret the entire time and was committed to him, but over time, she got older while he continued to look 35. By 1985, the strain of this difference and the way onlookers gaped at them became too much for her, and she left him with a letter saying she needed time to think. It turned out she had found a place in the country they could have lived together in peace for the rest of her life, but died before she had the chance to send the letter telling him.
  • M.D. Envy: When Jo asks Henry if he ever considered becoming "a real doctor," he pointedly explains he is a real doctor (an M. D.), and he'll try not to take offense on behalf all medical examiners. When he relaxes and smiles after, it becomes clear he was only feigning taking offense at the question.
  • Medicate the Medium: When Henry tells his wife Nora that he's immortal, she doesn't believe him. When he wants to prove it to her by killing himself and coming back, she has him locked up in an asylum; this being 1815 there aren't a lot of medicines available but Henry receives the treatments of the era, which are pretty horrific.
  • Medicine Show: In "Fountain of Youth," the flashback opens with Henry and his good friend James watching one of these, promoting a new Sanitarium. Henry lists several crackpot "cures" they advertise and bemoans the fact that people who need the help of real medicine will end up going to the charlatans instead. James is at least willing to entertain the thought that some part of their offerings could someday turn out to actually help, given how rapidly medical care is advancing.
  • Men Are Childish: At the end of the pilot, in a deleted scene, Henry asks Jo as they get into her police car if they can turn on the sirens. She gives him an amused/indulgent/exasperated look and asks Henry how old he is, but she does turn the lights and sirens on.
  • Mercy Kill: Adam efficiently slits Henry's throat to kill him quickly as he's bleeding out from a fatal stab wound and unable to move due to his back being broken, and would likely be found by Detective Martinez before he died and vanished. The same efficient throat cut also lets Henry know that Adam has killed people in this manner before.
  • Mess of Woe: After Abigail leaves Henry, Abe finds him in an apartment filled with old newspapers and other debris, simple necessities like cleaning and picking up after himself clearly having gone by the wayside while Henry has been trying to track down Abigail.
  • Metaphorically True: Henry sometimes uses Exact Words and Sarcastic Confession but, especially with Jo as time goes on, he generally tries to stick to answers that are at least true in essence, even if he has to hedge details and facts.
  • Missing Mom: Abigail, Abraham's mother, goes missing in the 1980s, and he and Henry don't learn what happened to her until "The Night In Question".
  • Mistaken for Flirting: In the pilot, Henry says to Jo, "You want a drink." Jo mistakes that for a question, as in trying to ask her out, but Henry corrects her.
    Henry: I wasn't hitting on you, Detective, merely stating a fact: you want a drink.
  • Moment Killer: At tthe end of "Best Foot Forward," Jo appears to be finally ready to tell Henry how she feels about him (after breaking up with her rich, handsome boyfriend)... then Abe bursts into the shop to tell Henry something important. Jo excuses herself and leaves.
  • The Mourning After: Jo at the start of the series clearly believes she has already found her One True Love and lost him, and will never find another. Henry tells Jo she shouldn't be eating her meals at her desk, that in a city like New York there's someone out there to share them with, but Jo replies sadly that she already found him, and now he's gone.
  • Muggle and Magical Love Triangle: From "Dead Men Tell Long Tales" to "Best Foot Forward" Jo is being romanced by Isaac, ordinary mortal, which causes Henry, immortal, to realize the depth of his feelings for her. Played with in that Jo doesn't know Henry is immortal, only that he's exceptional.
  • Muggle–Mage Romance:
    • Henry and Abigail were together for about forty years and raised a child, Abraham, together. Abigail learned Henry was The Ageless immortal early on, when he died in her arms after being knifed. They had to move repeatedly to protect his secret, either when his lack of aging was becoming too obvious or when someone from his past recognized him or someone saw him die. Abigail accepted this as part of being with Henry.
    • Implied to be developing between Henry and Jo, although Jo doesn't yet know exactly what Henry's secret is. She has come close several times, both just missing seeing Henry die and making comments about everything he knows taking ten lifetimes to accumulate. Henry looked jealous of Jo kissing Isaac. Jo called off her trip to Paris after Henry's idea of how to see the city contrasted with Isaac's. Jo tells Henry there's nothing in this world he can't tell her. Henry says she's someone he cares deeply about. The final scene makes it pretty clear Henry is about to finally explain his secret to Jo, and it seems to be the only thing standing in the way of their relationship.
  • Multiple Identity IDs: Unusually for a show with immortals who change identities regularly, this is averted. We only see one passport each for Henry and Abe. The fact that Henry's fake credentials were apparently rather thin, and he appears ready to pick a new location on a whim in the pilot, implies that he doesn't necessarily put a lot of preparation into creating detailed back-up identities. Eventually played straight to some degree at the end of "Social Engineering" when Liz gives Henry new improved fake records on top of his own lesser fakes.
  • Mundane Utility: Adam uses slitting his own throat as a handy way to escape a building being searched by the cops in "The Last Death of Henry Morgan", as well as doing the same to Henry as a "favor" in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" when Henry is lying helpless with a broken neck, about to be discovered by Jo. Henry is seriously freaked out by how casually Adam kills himself in "Skinny Dipper" just to prove that he's really immortal.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: What Molly Dawes's stalker sees himself as doing to Henry in "The Ecstasy of Agony".
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • "Dead Men Tell Long Tales" reveals Henry was secretly attempting to free the slaves aboard a shipping vessel, but being shot (his first death) and thrown overboard aborted his plan. He blamed himself for the deaths of those three hundred enslaved people when the ship was lost at sea, and he believed it to be the reason for his "curse." He later learns that, upon being shot, he dropped the key to the slave pen within direct reach of one of the African men inside, enabling them to free themselves and take control of the ship. Though the ship did eventually sink, the survivors of the uprising were able to steer it North enough to land in non-slaveholding territory, according to a story told to Henry by one of their descendants.
    • Henry abandons medicine after he makes the choice to give up his efforts to save a man who has been shot, as he himself has been shot and is dying. He chooses his own secret (avoiding others seeing him die and vanish) over a man's life, thus violating the oath he took as a doctor. He never forgives himself for this and believes he's no longer worthy of being a practicing physician.
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Happens to Henry every time he dies. An especially long one in "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" when Adam shoots him with the flintlock that originally killed him, which Adam had theorized might kill him permanently.
  • Mysterious Stranger:
    • Adam, Henry's anonymous caller, is treated this way for half the series. He starts out only The Voice, then starting at the end of "Look Before You Leap" Adam is only shown to the audience from behind, or just his feet and the bottom of his coat, or a gloved hand. Henry Sees his shoes and the bottom of his coat at the end of "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" and from behind at the start of "Skinny Dipper." The audience sees who he is for the first time at the same time Henry does at the end of "Skinny Dipper". He still remains fairly mysterious, calling Henry or showing up at key moments, giving away very little of his past or present. His phone calls often show his end of the conversation with Adam on the street outside the antique shop, watching Henry through the large windows of the upper floor apartment.
    • Adam serves as an Anonymous Benefactor to Abe, giving him documents from Auschwitz that allow him to learn his parents' names for the first time. He leaves plenty of clues to let Henry know it was him, though.
  • Mystery of the Week: This being a cop show, there's generally a homicide to solve every week.

    N-Q 

  • Naked on Revival: This is part of how Henry's immortality works - whenever he dies, he wakes up naked in a nearby large body of water. As the show is set in New York, this usually means the East River. This makes for "some rather awkward situations" as he's been arrested for Skinny Dipping more than once. He claims to Lieutenant Reece that he's a somnambulist and he Sleeps in the Nude.
  • Nazi Grandpa: In "Hitler on the Half Shell" Erik Haas learns that his grandfather was not actually a humble art gallery owner who escaped with his modest collection before the Nazi takeover, but was in truth S.S. Commandant Otto Heydrich, who stole art for Hitler as part of the Reichsleiter Rosenberg cultural appropriation task force, and all his family's art collection was Nazi plunder. His father had been trying to return stolen masterpieces to their rightful owners for decades.
  • Near-Villain Victory: The pilot ends with this; the Villain of the Week has shot both Henry and Jo, and is about to release poison gas into the ventilation system of Grand Central Station. At the last second, Henry manages to get to his feet and tackle the villain away from the device, in a charge that carries both of them through a railing and off the roof to their deaths.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: Averted in the flashback of "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" when Henry gets into a fistfight with Abigail's abusive ex-boyfriend. Despite being a head shorter and a lot smaller overall, Henry appears to be holding his own, until the man pulls a knife and stabs him with it. He dies in Abigail's arms within minutes.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: From "Diamonds Are Forever" — Part of what's made losing her husband hard for Jo is that they'd had a fight the night before he left for the trip he died on, so she left early that morning to avoid having to apologize. She never said goodbye, and the last words she said to him were in anger. Henry reassures her that they were in love, and her husband would have known she didn't mean it.
  • Never Suicide:
    • Twice over in "Look Before You Leap." First a near-hysterical grad student climbs over the railing of a bridge in front of witnesses, then falls to her death. Henry finds evidence of paint under her nails from digging into the bridge to try to hang on, as well as a fragment of skin in her teeth; he also climbs out onto a ledge on the bridge and finds two different footprints and a carabiner the killer used to avoid falling themself. Her mentor, a much older professor, is accused of killing her. When he's found with slit wrists and a suicide note, Henry determines based on drugs in his coffee, the angle of the cuts, and a grammatical error in the Gratuitous Greek in the suicide note, that his death was also a faked suicide.
    • Inverted in "The Art of Murder" when everyone, including Henry, thinks that Gloria Carlyle was murdered, but it turns out it was a suicide gone wrong.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The commercials on ABC were prone to this, with the one for "The Ecstasy of Agony" implying Iona would be the one torturing Henry against his will, and "Skinny Dipper" making a bigger deal out of Henry's watch being in the cab and implying Henry's immortality would be revealed.
  • The New Rock & Roll: An extremely detailed graphic novel about a demon that makes people kill (including a number of famous serial killers throughout history) is assumed by the mother of a teenaged suspect to be the cause of his interest in, and suspected committing of, murders. The actual killer was using it as a how-to guide for mimicking famous killers, but it's made pretty clear that he would have been perfectly happy killing any other way, and the graphic novel was just something he chose for a theme. Hanson zig-zags the trope; he doesn't think the comic causes violent behavior, he just thinks a person would have to already be sick and twisted to want to read it. For good measure, the far-from-psychopathic Lucas is seen still reading Soul Slasher during the closing voiceover.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • In "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" Henry tells the parents of a teenager arrested for murder that they have a ledger naming the person who purchased the murder weapon, and that the person who sold it is going to identify that person (meaning she hadn't yet done so). Unfortunately for Henry and the seller, the real killer is the father, and because of this information from Henry, he targets the seller that very same night, almost killing her before she can identify him.
    • In "Skinny Dipper," when they learn their suspect has just signed out, Jo tells the desk to lock the facility down, even hitting the button to do so herself. The suspect reaches the doors just as they're closing, and manages to squeeze out, leaving Henry and Jo trapped inside and unable to pursue him.
  • No Badge? No Problem!:
    • Henry isn't a cop, has no badge, and has little authority outside the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, but he nevertheless accompanies Jo to interview (potentially dangerous) witnesses and when doing things like searching Grand Central for a potential mass murderer. Occasionally justified by having an antique of some sort involved, as Henry is also part-owner of an antiques store (and 235 years old) and can serve as an expert in the field.
    • Lieutenant Reece encourages Henry to visit a club owned by a suspect her detectives are barred from approaching in "Punk Is Dead," pointedly explaining she has no authority over someone who works for the OCME; again in "The Night In Question" she tells Jo that no one with a badge is allowed to interview a suspect, then when Henry agrees she tells him firmly she wasn't talking to him, and Jo jerks her head towards the interview room to encourage Henry to go in.
  • No Body Left Behind: This is how Henry's deaths work. His body, including everything he's wearing or carrying on him, disappears. We never see this happen directly on-screen, the closest being when a priest helps Henry commit suicide in jail; we see the shadow on the wall of Henry's body swinging in the noose, then there's a bright light, and then the shadow of the noose, now swinging empty. We also see Abigail holding Henry as he dies, then immediately after his rebirth in the river we see her still kneeling in the street, her hands empty with no sign of any blood on them or her clothes, looking around in confusion.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: At the start of "Fountain of Youth" a kid tries to steal the briefcase of a man in his sixties. To his surprise, the man chases him down and starts delivering one of these.
  • Non-Indicative Name: An antiques dealer in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" who is known as "The Frenchman" is actually a Japanese woman.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Henry and Abe are discussing Abe's ex-wife in "The Ecstasy of Agony":
      Henry Morgan: That woman has done nothing but hurt you, time after time.
      Abraham Morgan: Are you talking about the incident with the gun? She didn't know it was loaded.
    • In a flashback to 1929 Paris in "Best Foot Forward," a friend of Henry's who is hosting a party says she won't have him spoiling it by fighting with Hemingway "again."
    • A couple of dark examples. In the pilot, Henry says in the past when someone found out about his secret, "I've had every ounce of my blood drained, my organs dissected in the name of science, I've been hanged for heresy!" And in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" Henry says, about telling anyone about Adam, "I've had my share of padded white rooms," a description which does not match the stone walls and chains of his only stay in an asylum shown on-screen.
  • No "Police" Option: Despite working closely with the police every day, when Henry is faced with an immortal stalker he feels he can't go to the police without putting his own secret at risk, or being thought insane if he were to tell them.
    • This starts with mysterious phone calls from The Voice in the pilot, and reaches a climax in "Skinny Dipper" when Adam kills Henry in the course of proving his own immortality, then frames Henry for murder. Henry and Abe are mere minutes away from fleeing the country when Jo arrives, and Henry is clearly in agony when she asks him to explain himself. In the end, Henry tells her about having a stalker, but not about either of them being immortal.
    • It comes up for a final time in "The Last Death of Henry Morgan," when Adam's pugio dagger and possible Immortal Breaker resurfaces and Adam begins murdering his way towards reclaiming it. When Jo confiscates the pugio Henry fears so much for her safety that he connives to steal it from evidence and return it to Adam rather than trying to kill him with it, much to Adam's disappointment, putting both his and Lucas's jobs at risk and driving a large wedge between Henry and Detective Martinez.
  • Not Afraid to Die: When Adam threatens Henry with the gun that originally killed him, which Adam believes is the only thing that could kill him for good, Henry angrily tells him he's not afraid to die. Adam tells Henry the thing Henry fears isn't death, but exposure.
  • Not Even Bothering with an Excuse: In the pilot, Jo questioning Lucas about Henry makes him realize he knows almost nothing about Henry even though they've been working together for three years. Lucas suggests they go out for a beer or catch some music together. Henry responds with a simple "No, thank you." Lucas, disappointed, says he appreciates the candor.
  • Not My Driver: Henry's cab driver at the end of "The Man in the Killer Suit" turns out to be his stalker, Adam.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Adam believes Henry will eventually become a sociopath, like him. He repeatedly claims he was once "a good and decent man" like Henry and that he, too, died for the first time trying to save someone's life.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Stated word for word by Henry in "Skinny Dipper" when Jo enters Henry's basement laboratory to find him holding a hunting knife with blood on it. Henry then admits that "it" (the knife) is exactly what it looks like, the murder weapon with the victim's blood still on it. Luckily, Jo gives Henry a chance to explain just why he has it, rather than jumping to conclusions.
  • Official Couple: Henry and Abigail in the past. Henry and Jo are clearly headed that way for most of the series, but Henry's secrets keep getting in the way.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Abe still hasn't gotten over Henry being tied up at work in 1956, causing him to miss Don Larson pitching the only perfect game in World Series history.
  • The Older Immortal: Henry Morgan is 234 years old at the start of the series. The mysterious caller, claims to be over 2000 years old. Unlike Henry, he is cynical and contemptuous of human life. According to the caller, he himself used to be "a good and decent man" like Henry, but time has taken a heavy toll. Henry met his first death trying to save the life of an African man on a slave ship; Adam tells Henry he met his first death trying to stop the assassination of Julius Caesar. Now, Adam says murdering is "like breathing" to him.
  • Old People are Nonsexual: Gleefully averted in "The Ecstasy of Agony" with Abraham and his twice-over ex Maureen Delacroix. They agree they're just getting better together with age.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Thanks to his sheer breadth of experience, Henry is a talented forensic scientist on top of being a medical doctor and pathologist, and knows at least the basics of a dozen or more other fields, including botany (various plants in his lab), marine biology (he has a tank of Immortal Jellyfish) and grave-digging.
  • Ominously Open Door: In "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" Henry has been stabbed outside the Frenchman's home, but painfully makes his way inside to try to save her from the killer of the week. When Jo arrives, she sees the front door hanging open, which she finds ominous enough to draw her gun before entering. She ends up confronting and shooting the killer before he can finish her off. A few minutes later she hears a noise in the basement as Adam Mercy Kills Henry and then leaves and finds that door, too, hanging ominously open, but nothing downstairs.
  • On a Scale from One to Ten:
    • Henry has a book in the pilot where he records his deaths, including rating pain levels on a scale from one to ten. Getting impaled through the chest by a broken handrail in a subway crash was rated a seven.
    • In "The Night In Question" Lucas asks if Jo and Henry are an item now, declaring they would automatically be his favorite couple ever, before ruining it by suggesting if Jo has "any hot friends" they could double date, but "I'm only interested in Eights or above!"
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted as both the villain of the pilot and Detective Hanson have a wife named Karen.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: A repeat offender.
    • In the pilot, Jo is hit in the shoulder. She's out of commission and wakes up in the hospital, but when we next see her she's got a little gauze visible taped to her chest and is otherwise fine, using that arm pretty normally and apparently back to full duty investigating another murder.
    • In "New York Kids" Henry is shot in the upper arm, likely through the bicep, and within minutes he's caught up to Jo in her confrontation with the shooter, and aside from holding the spot with his other hand, he's quite coherent and active. He's seen later with his arm in a sling but otherwise seems fine, and he's using his hand pretty normally by the end of the episode. A bit more justified since he's had a lot of experience with painful injuries.
    • Less egregious in "Diamonds Are Forever" when Hanson is shot in the upper arm. (Henry complains about it being described by the inexact term "flesh wound.") Hanson is in a lot of pain, not just at the time but later in the episode too, and his arm is in a sling for a good while and he's shown having difficulty with simple everyday tasks like putting on his coat (although still only for that episode).
  • The Only One I Trust: Abe is the only person Henry trusts, to a degree that everyone from Henry's therapist secretly his immortal stalker, Adam to Abraham himself is telling Henry he needs to confide in someone else. The final episode ends with him starting to tell his long story to Jo.
  • Opening Narration: Henry explains his immortality at the beginning of each of the first few episodes. The details change, shifting to de-emphasize his Naked on Arrival Resurrective Immortality and focusing more on his trying to find a way to cure his condition, working for the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, "which houses the largest collection of slightly chilled corpses in the world — when your game is death, you go where the action is!"
    Henry: My name is Henry Morgan. My story is a long one. It might sound a bit implausible — in fact, you probably won't believe me, but I'll tell you anyway, because above all else, I have lots and lots of time...
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Abe and Henry are very much aware that this will be the inevitable result of their relationship. Abe has accepted it, while Henry just tries not to think about it and is very uncomfortable when Abe brings it up. (Henry had a similar desire to avoid the subject when Abigail would tell him, "One day I'll be gone, and you'll still be here.")
  • Papa Wolf: In "Skinny Dipper" Henry is not at all interested in fighting his stalker when he appears in the basement lab with a sword, but when he hears his son Abraham coming home upstairs, Henry fights tooth and nail (and letter opener) to keep the killer away from him.
  • Parents Walk In at the Worst Time: Deliberately averted in-universe by Henry when he starts to enter the living quarters he shares with Abraham above the antique store, but discovers his son Abe and Abe's ex Maureen dancing romantically. Grinning, he turns around and quietly leaves them to it.
  • Parting-Words Regret: The night before Jo's husband Sean left for the trip he died on, he and Jo had a huge fight, and Jo left early the next day so she wouldn't have to apologize.
    Jo Martinez: The last words I said to my husband were in anger.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Though Henry's actions at the end of "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" may also be seen as Cruel Mercy, necessary to protect the world from Adam, it has a big helping of this, especially clear when we see the little smile Henry gives just after talking with Adam's doctor about his Locked-In Syndrome; it's pretty clear he's thinking of Abigail's death and everything else Adam put him through, and sees this as just punishment for Adam.
  • Perfect Health: Played with. When Henry reappears after dying, he's in perfect health, but not only can he still catch communicable diseases, he's apparently already caught most of them; Adam's blood contained antibodies to diseases that don't even exist anymore. No communicable illnesses are shown onscreen, though, for immortals or mortals, so the trope is played straight.
  • Personal Effects Reveal: Played with in "The Night In Question." When Henry and Abe finally learn where Abigail went after she left them, her landlady had kept a box of stuff "Sylvia" left behind when she disappeared. They take the box home, but there's nothing but everyday junk inside. Then, Henry finds a letter tucked into a ratty old poetry book, which Abigail never got the chance to send, asking Henry to come join her so they can spend the rest of Abigail's life together.
  • Person as Verb: When Henry is away from the OCME for too long, and starts diagnosing what killed a rat in the basement lab, an exasperated Abe tells him to go back to work and quit "Sherlocking rats."
  • Playing with Syringes: Henry has had some bad experiences in the past when people found out about his immortality, starting with being sent to an asylum and apparently getting worse from there. Adam had it even worse, being experimented on in Auschwitz by Dr. Mengele himself.
    Henry: Abe, this has happened before! I've had every ounce of my blood drained, my organs dissected in the name of science!
  • Plot-Driving Secret: Why can't Henry die? Who is the mysterious caller? What happened to Abigail?
  • Posthumous Character:
    • Abigail disappeared decades before the series starts and had died within months if not weeks of leaving Henry but her influence is felt throughout, including being in flashbacks of the majority of the episodes.
    • Nora wasn't a part of Henry's life for nearly as long, but her actions and their consequences had an indelible tragic effect on Henry and deeply ingrained his inability to share his secret.
  • Power Dynamics Kink: Henry is clearly into it when Iona takes command, stripping off clothing and ordering him to give her his hands to be put into cuffs.
    Henry: Suppose I'm afraid to relinquish control?
    Iona: I think you're afraid of a great many things, Doctor. That's not one of them.
  • Powerful People Are Subs: Invoked in-universe with the victim in "The Ecstasy of Agony." The victim was a high-powered executive in a job where any weakness will be exploited. In his private life, he went to a domination therapist where he could let go and let someone else be in charge.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Not knowing if Adam's pugio could really kill him for good, Henry chooses a more practical and certain way of keeping him from hurting anyone else, even it is likely a Fate Worse than Death.
  • The Precarious Ledge: Henry climbs down onto a narrow ledge under a bridge in "Look Before You Leap" to investigate a death everyone else is ready to write off as suicide. As a medical examiner, he goes into gruesome detail about exactly how a person dies if they go into the water from such a height. He does find the evidence he was after that the victim was lured onto the ledge by a colleague claiming he was going to jump, to get her to try to talk him out of it and he then forced her off.
  • Primal Fear: In "Skinny Dipper", when Henry is trapped in a sinking car, he fights just as desperately to get out as anyone who isn't immortal would do, leaving some horrific scratches on the inside of the back passenger area. Henry says he still fears death, and still fights to survive. The Older Immortal Adam, on the other hand, kills himself (or others) casually, sometimes just as a means of travel since both immortals reappear in a nearby large body of water when they die.
  • Prison Rape: Jo basically threatens a suspect with this in "The Wolves of Deep Brooklyn" to get him to cooperate.
  • Prized Possession Giveaway: Henry's estranged father, on his deathbed, asks to see Henry. He tells Henry he has something to give him, but Henry makes it clear he won't accept anything because his father's wealth came from the slave trade. His father tells him this gift was given to him by his father, who got it from his father (thus it is not a product of blood money), and holds out his pocketwatch. The reverence with which Henry says, "Your watch?" makes it clear that this is a highly prized possession.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend:
    • Henry's first wife, Nora, comes back into his life in "Social Engineering" openly declaring herself his wife (despite the apparent age gap now present) and insisting he must share his immortality, his deepest secret, with the world. She eventually tries to kill him in front of witnesses, but his new love Anne steps in front of him and is killed instead.
    • Abe's twice-over ex-wife Maureen De La Croix has apparently tried to kill him several times, although Abe insists that in case of the incident with the gun Maureen hadn't known it was loaded.
  • Psycho Knife Nut:
    • In the pilot, when Henry's colleagues generally agree that he's highly creepy, the fact that he uses a large hunting knife as one of his main autopsy tools doubtless helps contribute to this image.
    • In both "Hitler On the Half-Shell" and "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" Henry has had bodies on his autopsy table of people Adam tortured to death as part of his quest to reacquire the pugio dagger used in his first death, which was taken from him by the Nazis at Auschwitz. They were covered with long, straight wounds consistent with a knife, and Henry remarks, even before knowing who caused them, that they are the mark of a true sadist who was enjoying the torture. Adam has also used the knife on himself for the Mundane Utility of slitting his own throat simply to get out of a location unseen, thanks to his Resurrection Teleportation.
  • Psycho Psychologist: At the end of "Skinny Dipper", it turns out that the episode's antagonist, a mentally ill man named Clark Walker, was actually manipulated by his therapist. Henry's own therapist, Dr. Lewis Farber, gives Henry some key information, which may or may not have been true but was clearly designed to manipulate Henry into thinking that Walker was his immortal stalker, Adam. Adam was actually the one manipulating them both all along, terrorizing and traumatizing Henry, culminating in tricking Henry into killing Walker, after which he revealed that "Dr. Farber" was actually Adam himself.
  • Punk in the Trunk: In "Best Foot Forward" a ballerina's foot is taken off and she's transported in the trunk of a car, making an improvised tourniquet from the elastic along the edge of the trunk's liner, before being dumped on a beach. Turns out she was in on the whole thing, but she really was transported in the trunk, with a significant amount of blood left behind to prove it.
  • Purpose-Driven Immortality: Abigail believes this is true for Henry's immortality.
    Abigail: Henry, listen to me. Everything you are, everything you've learned is for something bigger. You were made like this for a reason, but it wasn't for me.
  • Put Off Their Food: In "Fountain of Youth," when Henry describes what tuberculosis can do to healthy lung tissue, Jo complains that she had just ordered Chinese, with the implication that she doesn't think she'll want to eat now.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: Henry has several of these traits, a Gentleman and a Scholar who loves tea, is extremely polite and reserved (except when he's doing something crazy), and listens to opera and classical music. When he and Jo visit an exclusive club, Henry fusses about not being allowed to change into proper attire. However, while he is clearly what American TV writers think of as British, he doesn't quite have enough of these traits to be a complete cliché.

    R-S 

  • Rain of Blood: A blood drop landing on her face from above is what leads to Jo discovering a shipping container is leaking fresh blood in "Hitler On the Half-Shell." Inside, they find the remains of Julian Glauser, who was tortured to death, along with the missing stolen Nazi art.
  • Rapid-Fire Typing: Inverted and Discussed For Laughs in "Social Engineering." When a hacker contacts Henry on the morgue's computer, she starts out typing, but Henry's reply is so slow she opens a video window instead just to complain about it.
  • Reaction Shot: At the end of "The Fountain of Youth," Abe enlists Henry's help in trying out skateboarding down a half-pipe. As Abe goes down, the camera closes in on Henry's face as he's terrified of his son getting seriously injured, then relieved as Abe apparently is okay, then proud of his son's success.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Henry's excuse to his boss for being found naked in public is that he's a sleepwalker. There really are cases of people who sleepwalk ending up naked in public, such as this case where police loaned a person their jackets to preserve "what remained of their dignity" to get them back to their hotel room.
    Officers were satisfied that it was a case of somnambulism, and not a dare. The person involved was grateful to the officers for their help, saw a funny side to what had happened, and even asked for a selfie with the officers (when they were fully clothed) as a memento of their unusual encounter with GMP.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Henry is over 200 years old, having died for the first time in 1814, but looks to be in his thirties. Adam is allegedly over 2000 years old, but he appears no worse for wear, either. Adam claims he met his first death trying to stop the assassination of Julius Caesar. In one episode, Henry finds evidence that Adam really is that old: a tissue sample of Adam's that Lucas collected from a victim's ring has antibodies to diseases that haven't been around for centuries.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: The episode "The King of Columbus Circle" sees waitress Lydia learn that the man she only recently learned was her long-lost biological father really was the deposed king of the distant country Urkesh, with the result that Lydia is technically the princess of Urkesh even if the royal family doesn't have any status these days.
  • Red Herring: In "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths," a series of copycat murders is linked to a graphic novel series Soul Slasher. Investigation of the fan page leads to a teenager who is clearly sociopathic, and they spend most of the rest of the episode looking at him. However, it's not him, it's his father.
  • Regency England: Henry was born in 1779 and died for the first time in 1815, so there are several flashbacks to the Regency period.
  • Rejected Apology: In "The Art of Murder," after Lucas screws up, causing the son of the incredibly wealthy victim to threaten the police department with a lawsuit, Henry takes the blame and offers a heartfelt gentlemanly apology, figuring that a gentleman would accept it and end the matter. Naturally, the son ignores his outstretched hand and states that he will still sue. Henry is taken aback.
  • Relationship Revolving Door: Abraham and his ex-wife Maureen Delacroix. They've been married twice, divorced twice, and in "The Ecstasy of Agony" they get back together again and then part again.
  • Removing the Rival: Molly Dawes's stalker believes he is doing this in "The Ecstasy of Agony," kidnapping Henry and taking him to a warehouse where he ultimately plans to torture and kill him.
  • Rescue Romance: When Henry and Jo rescue Molly Dawes from a disturbed student in "Memories of Murder," Molly confesses to Henry that she's always fantasized about this, and she found being rescued by a handsome doctor "kinda hot!" Henry promises not to tell anyone, to preserve her reputation in the Domme community.
  • Respawn Point: Whenever Henry Morgan dies, he wakes up in a nearby large body of water, naked.
  • Resurrection Teleportation: Whenever Henry dies, his body vanishes (including clothing and anything he's directly carrying that he doesn't drop in time) and he immediately reappears in the nearest large body of water (on Manhattan, usually the Hudson or East River). While Henry normally doesn't choose to die if he can help it, in a flashback in "Diamonds Are Forever" we see his cellmate convince him to use suicide as a means of escape. The Older Immortal Adam, on the other hand, makes use of this factor quite casually to escape from the police in "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" by slitting his own throat. Adam does the same to Henry as a "favor" in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" when he's lying helpless with a broken neck, about to be discovered that way by Jo. Unfortunately for Adam, he was unable to use this to escape torture by Dr. Mengele at Auschwitz, as the Nazis quickly figured out he'd reappear in a nearby river and would easily recapture him for more Playing with Syringes.
  • Revealing Injury: The killer in "Look Before You Leap" is typing with his right hand even though he's left-handed because the first victim bit his left hand badly, which he'd kept hidden because everyone has to wear gloves when working with or around the codex.
  • The Reveal Prompts Romance:
    • Inverted with Nora, who was already in love with Henry, and he with her, when she cajoled him into revealing his secret. It resulted in Henry being locked up in an asylum and basically tortured for months, which rather soured the relationship on his end.
    • Many fans were hoping that this would be the result of the final scene with Jo asking Henry to explain the photo she found.
  • Rewind, Replay, Repeat:
    • In the pilot, Martinez makes her Techno Wizard do this with footage of the train station just before the crash, in hopes of finding a killer. Instead, she finds Henry.
    • In "Diamonds Are Forever," Jo does this herself with footage of her late husband conducting an interview with a suspect, which captured his side of a conversation talking to Jo on the phone, including him telling her he loves her.
  • Right Behind Me: A slight twist — Detective Martinez describes Henry as weird and creepy while he's right behind her, slightly out of focus. Her colleagues visibly react to his presence but don't gesture or otherwise actively try to warn her. Martinez does not speak the expected line. Henry clearly doesn't mind and assures her he's been called worse.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: In "The Art of Murder", Henry's analysis of the crime scene reveals that Gloria Carlyle dragged herself over thirty feet after falling down a flight of stairs despite being in considerable pain. Henry's only initial mistake was that he assumed she was driven by fear of her attacker, when in reality there was no attacker; Gloria had fallen down the stairs by accident as part of her planned suicide, but she was driven on by the memory of her lost lover to die in front of the painting that was her last memento of him.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: "Hitler on the Half-Shell" bears a strong resemblance to the 2013 reports of a vast trove of art stolen by the Nazis being confiscated from the son of Nazi art thief Hildebrand Gurlitt, who had inherited the works. The son, Cornelius Gurlitt, left all of the art in his will to a museum in Switzerland.
  • Romancing the Widow:
    • True for both protagonists, although Henry isn't sure of his status regarding Abigail until her body is found in "The Night In Question." Isaac is the first to openly romance Jo knowing this about her (having done his research), but the growing Will They or Won't They? Unresolved Sexual Tension near the end of the season between Jo and Henry may have been leading to this.
    • In a way, this could be said to apply to Molly Dawes as well, who had a relationship with a patient when she was younger and lost him to suicide, and who Henry openly states he is "courting" at one point.
    • Abe goes to the funeral of a childhood friend with the express purpose of seeing if he and the man's widow can reignite the sparks of their childhood attraction (Abe wasn't able to pursue it at the time as the Morgans had to leave town when someone from Henry's past recognized him).
  • Romantic False Lead:
    • Isaac serves this role for Jo, giving her a fairly healthy rebound relationship once she's over Sean enough to try dating again. Unfortunately for him, his carefully planned, safe trip to Paris makes her realize she prefers Henry's more exciting approach.
    • Molly Dawes could be seen as this, but she seems rather to signal that Henry isn't ready to let anyone in until he's come to terms with Nora's betrayal and losing Abigail.
  • Romantic Wingman: Abe invokes this trope, explicitly asking Henry to be his wingman when he goes to the funeral of a childhood friend in hopes of reconnecting with the girl he shared his first kiss with.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Henry put one together over the course of 1985 while trying to track down Abigail. Abe threw it all out to snap Henry out of his Heroic BSoD. Except, Abe didn't throw it out: he moved all the material to a storage locker to try to track down Abigail himself while keeping Henry from wallowing in self-pity.
  • Rule of Three:
    • Henry leaves his pocket watch behind at the place of his "death" on three occasions by the end of the first season finale: in the pilot when he is killed in a subway crash, in the middle of the season when he drowns in Adam's hijacked taxi, and in the finale when he is shot beneath a subway terminal. Jo finds the watch and returns it to him with varying degrees of suspicion on all three occasions.
    • Adam kills Henry three times: Once by slitting his throat to keep Jo from seeing him die; once by trapping him in the back of a taxi which goes off the pier and sinks, drowning Henry; and once in the abandoned subway station, shooting Henry with the flintlock that originally killed him to test the theory that it would kill him permanently.
  • Runaway Train: The focus of the first episode. The story is kicked off with Henry dying in a subway crash, waking up again, and getting caught up in the police investigation.
  • Running Gag: Henry will figure out a lot about the person by examining the body and explain it to Jo, and Detective Hanson will often walk into the scene just after Henry has finished up his profiling and state the same thing, found through conventional police channels.
    Mike Hanson: ...Henry already figured this out, didn't he?
  • Running Over the Plot: How "Diamonds Are Forever" kicks off the week's murder case. In this case, not just run over, but reversed over after, to make sure he's dead.
  • Samus Is a Girl: "The Frenchman" is a Japanese woman.
  • Sarcastic Confession:
    • When Jo remarks at the end of "The Man In the Killer Suit" that Henry's brand of eccentricity would take years to perfect, he smiles and agrees, "How about centuries?"
    • In "The King of Columbus Circle" after Henry addresses the wife of the deposed king of Urkesh in Russian:
    Jo: I don't get it, Henry. A person would have to live ten lives to pick up everything that you have.
    Henry: Or one very long one.
  • Scars are Forever: Henry has a large, irregular scar on his chest where the shot from the captain's flintlock killed him the first time. Otherwise averted as, while other injuries heal normally, when Henry dies he reemerges from the water in perfect health and any wounds or scars he's acquired since his last death vanish.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • Per a Q&A Henry reappears in the East River instead of the Hudson River because the director thought the views of Brooklyn in the background would be much prettier than views of New Jersey would have been.
    • The shots of historical New York in the background of resurrections during flashbacks are extremely well-done.
    • "Fountain of Youth" has an especially notable view of the 1906 New York skyline, which James and Henry specifically take the time to admire.
  • Sculpted Physique: The mugging victim at the start of "Fountain of Youth" is in his sixties, but has the body of a man in his thirties, one who does crossfit.
  • Secret Chaser: Jo has been trying to get Henry to open up about his secrets pretty much since they met. In the finale, she follows Henry into the subway to try to discover what he's going to do with the pilfered pugio, and thus almost learns of his immortality. She also finds a picture of The Ageless Henry, The Lost Lenore Abigail, and baby Abraham, left behind by Adam, and the final scene is of Jo asking Henry to explain it to her.
  • Secret Diary: Henry keeps a "Diary of Death" in which he records details of each time he dies.
  • Secret-Keeper:
    • Abe is meant to be the one person who knows Henry's secret, though Abigail was another before and after she left Henry (to the point that she took the secret to her grave in 1985 to protect Henry from Adam).
    • Adam obviously knows the secret and acts to protect it, slitting the throat of an incapacitated and bleeding-out Henry so he disappears before Martinez finds him.
    • In "Social Engineering", Liz, a hacker and one-time murder suspect, traces Henry's credentials and finds that his work history and medical degree are faked, so she knows only that Henry has a secret, not what that secret is. Liz threatens to expose Henry's fake credentials, and when he refuses to give in, she is in the midst of sending an email to Jo when another hacker rigs a traffic light and she's nearly killed when she's hit by a car. After Henry saves her life (at great risk of exposure for himself) she fixes her earlier mistake and falsifies a different background for Henry behind the original fake one, one which is good enough to allow him to keep his current job and identity without a hitch.
    • Inverted with Henry's first wife, Nora. She originally had Henry put in an asylum for telling her he's immortal and trying to prove it to her. Late in her life, (as depicted in flashbacks in "Social Engineering"), she found Henry's picture in the newspaper and came to visit him, demanding that he share his secret with the world. When Henry refused, she tried to shoot him to prove her claims, only for his new Love Interest to jump in front of him. Nora was then taken to the asylum, where no one would believe her ramblings.
    • Abraham wants Henry to tell Jo, because he's getting old and he believes Henry needs to have at least one person he can share his secret with and trust fully or he'll become detached from humanity.
    • When Abe comes to Lucas for help, Lucas keeps the secret of Abe asking for employee records from a hospital in the search for his mother.
  • Secretly Wealthy: Jo believes Henry is doing the academic version of this after "Social Engineering." A hacker discovers Henry's faked credentials, and sends Jo a message to look into them more deeply. After he saves her life, she fixes the damage she's done by creating a new, better-faked, more detailed background for him as thanks, with the result that Jo believes that Henry, far from studying in the University of Guam, was actually first in his class at Oxford. Henry claims that Guam was a refresher course and he uses that degree on his paperwork to avoid appearing pretentious.
  • Secret Room: Henry's basement laboratory, with its entrance a trap door hidden beneath a rug in the antique store.
  • Seeking the Missing, Finding the Dead: After forty years together, the difference in apparent ages between mortal Abigail and The Ageless Henry, and the stares and whispers it produced, grew to be too much for Abigail and she left Henry with a note saying she needed a little time to think. Although Henry always was sure Abigail wouldn't have left him hanging, would have let him know if she had actually decided not to come back to him, after a year of obsessive searching yielded nothing, their son Abe pushed him into giving up on finding her and took away his String Theory Stalker Shrine. She would be 94 if still alive at the start of the series, so her dying since then was a likely possibility either way. But when a new clue appears, Abe secretly pursues it, and eventually they track it down and discover her ultimate fate. While she was deciding what to do, The Older Immortal Adam met her as a nurse, and her reaction to his claim of immortality gave away the fact that she had met another immortal in the past. He kidnapped her trying to get her to tell him where to find this other immortal, and in the end she killed herself rather than risk being forced to betray Henry. Tragically, Henry finds a letter she'd written asking him to come join her and be together again, but she died before she got the chance to send it.
  • Seen It All: This is implied to be the basis of Henry's Sherlock Scan abilities - he's already seen what he observes enough times to recognize it quickly. It's also how Adam says he feels about everything and why he's become uncaring.
  • Selective Squeamishness Suppression: Henry is a very neat and tidy man, and Jo and Hanson scoff at the very idea of him joining in on a search of debris washed from a crime scene into the sewers by a storm. However, he does cut up bodies for a living with great enthusiasm, casually holding out a brain in his hand for Jo's inspection, and he frequently uses a hand to waft scents towards his nose to sniff everything from stomach contents to a stain on a dirty sidewalk.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Abigail killed herself to stop Adam from finding Henry, but all she did was give Adam knowledge that there was another immortal and it only took him a mere 30 years to find Henry on his own, all while leaving Henry near catatonic from her disappearance.
  • Serial Killer:
    • In "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" Mark Bentley is a serial killer who imitates a different serial killer for each kill! starting with Jack the Ripper, then the Black Dahlia, and he nearly succeeds in a Boston Strangler before Henry stops him and then Jo shoots him dead in self defense.
    • Adam is of the "thrill" Hedonistic variety: he has lived for so long that killing people is the only thing that offers any pleasure anymore. He tells Henry it gives him a rush like nothing else. Even his angst over his immortality is colored this way: he claims the worst part is feeling like time is no longer moving for him and not being able to feel like every minute could be his last.
  • Sex at Work: Implied to have taken place in the morgue between Henry and Molly when their date gets side-tracked by the murder investigation.
  • Sexiness Score: Lucas is thrilled at the idea of Jo and Henry becoming a couple in "The Last Death of Henry Morgan," suggesting that if Jo has any hot friends they could double-date, but he is "only interested in eights and above."
  • Sex with the Ex: Enthusiastically embraced by Abraham and his ex-wife Maureen in "The Ecstasy of Agony."
  • Shadow Archetype: Henry is a relatively young immortal who has spent the last thirty years, since his wife Abigail disappeared, keeping the world at arm's length, working with corpses instead of patients and "avoiding messy emotional entanglements." Adam is immortal like Henry, but has been around so long and cut himself off from humanity so thoroughly he's become a sociopath who believes he's Above Good and Evil. Henry spends the series learning how to open up and let people in again.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man:
    • Henry always wears tailored suits, usually with a waistcoat and a classy scarf instead of a tie (likely a call-back to the cravats he grew up with, although not tied so fancy). Even when he's relaxing at home, the most casual we ever see him is neatly pressed slacks and a clean long-sleeved button-down dress shirt.
    • In "The Man in the Killer Suit" the titular man was pretending to be an English nobleman and dressed the part, thanks to his girlfriend, working for a high-end clothing store, seeing potential in a bike messenger from Oklahoma named Dwight Diziak.
  • Sherlock Can Read: Jo and Hanson are amazed Henry tells them the sunken ship was "the Empress of Africa, a slave ship," and ask how he could possibly know that. We've just seen Henry looking at the ship's wheel, which has the words "Empress of Africa" prominently carved on it, and Jo and Hanson had just found shackles among the recovered items. (Henry also knows because he was killed on the ship, but for once there's an easy, mundane explanation handy.)
  • Sherlock Homage: Henry often does Sherlock's trick of speaking or acting based on information not obvious to those around him. He can often tell what killed someone even before the autopsy. In the pilot, he greets a young woman on the subway in Russian and wishes her luck with her performance that night, all based on his observations sitting a couple of seats away. Word of God confirms if there had been a second season, there would have been an indication Henry helped inspire the literary character himself.
  • Sherlock Scan: Henry's modus operandi. His assistant notes to Jo that Henry can sometimes tell what happened to a body even before cutting it open. But, as Henry notes in his voiceover, he's had plenty of time to practice. With his experience, it's fully possible Henry could rival Sherlock himself.
    • He usually does it more than Once per Episode, and several characters compare him to Sherlock Holmes, his assigned therapist remarking that he'd "heard about [Henry's] Sherlockian talents." Abe, in particular, lampshades it frequently.
    • When Henry is holed up in his basement after killing a man, the trope is Played for Laughs when he explains to Abe that his (non-invasive, thankfully) autopsy leads him to believe that no, the trap didn't kill the rat, the rat fell from the bookcase and broke several bones, after which it crawled in agonizing pain—and stepped on the trap, but the fall is what killed it. Abe tells him to get back to work and stop "Sherlocking rats."
    • Matt Miller has confirmed that if there had been a season two, there would have been a more explicit tie between Henry and the creation of Sherlock Holmes.
  • Ship Tease: It gradually builds up for Henry and Jo.
    • When Henry and Jo visit Iona Payne at her practice, she assumes they're a couple who are there for therapy. Jo corrects her.
    • When Henry finds Jo at the scene where she crashed a car, he's immensely relieved. The camera briefly cuts to a close-up of him taking her hand.
    • Henry and Jo are lying in bed together in a small apartmentnote  and turn to lie facing each other while talking softly.
    • When Henry and Jo are waiting in a hospital hallway and Jo is holding a baby, Henry is clearly reminded of the first time he saw Abigail, holding an infant Abraham. After Jo passes the baby to Henry, a passing nurse mistakes them as the baby's parents, which Jo awkwardly tries to correct.
    • During the voice-over at the end of one episode, Henry looks over and his smile disappears when he sees Jo kissing her boyfriend. The voice-over ends with, "If we root ourselves too deeply in the past, we'll miss what's right in front of us," while on the screen Henry looks at Jo pensively.
    • Jo enters the antique store after calling off her trip to Paris and her relationship with her boyfriend, Isaac, and tells Henry that she realized she "didn't want to go to Paris... with Isaac." She's implying and clearly trying to work up the courage to say out loud that she does want to go with Henry, but Abe bursts in with important news for Henry and she leaves. In the next episode, she learns Henry took time off and expresses worry that it's because of her, and Lucas brings up the idea of them being a couple.
    • In the finale, Henry mentions in a conversation with Abe, "whatever feelings I may have for Jo." Later, when he thinks he's dying his final death, his last thoughts are equally split between Abigail and Jo.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Lieutenant Reece would like to see Henry and Molly get together.
    • Reece also pointedly gives Jo full credit for saving Isaac's life and then asks Hanson to speak with her outside, leaving Jo and Isaac alone together, all in a tone of voice that makes it clear she approves of the match.
    • Lucas is one for Henry/Jo, saying if they get together they will automatically be his favorite couple ever.
  • Signature Item Clue: Henry's pocket watch.
    • In the first episode, Jo finds it in the wrecked subway car, then spots a man checking a pocket watch in the video surveillance of people getting onto the fatal car. A reflection shows that man is Henry, who Jo had just met. The watch is thus linked with Henry in her and the viewers' minds.
    • In "The Ecstasy of Agony" Henry is kidnapped by Molly's stalker; when Abe calls Jo about him not coming home on time, she doesn't seem too worried, until she finds his pocket watch on the sidewalk near his bicycle. This inspires her to check surveillance outside the station, where she and Hanson can see Henry being taken.
    • In "Skinny Dipper" Henry is trapped in the back of a taxi that goes off a pier into the Hudson; in his desperate struggles to escape before drowning, the watch slips out of his pocket and falls to the floor of the taxi. When the taxi is pulled out of the water, the inside of the back seat area is marked by horrific scratches from "someone desperate to get out." Jo finds Henry's watch in the cab, but assumes it just fell out of his pocket while they were searching.
    • In "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" Henry meets Adam in an abandoned subway platform. Adam shoots Henry, intending that Jo will arrive in time to see Henry die and disappear, but Henry's counterattack sends Adam stumbling away and when Jo arrives, she finds Henry's watch, telling her Henry had been there, and a picture of Henry, Abigail, and baby Abe that Adam had dropped.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of Henry's flashbacks in "Hitler on the Half-Shell" takes place in The Diogenes Club. (It bears little resemblance to the anti-social haven from the Sherlock canon, though.)
    • In "Skinny Dipper", when Henry deduces that the taxi driver was killed with a sword, Lucas makes a crack about Highlander. Henry, of course, has no idea what he's talking about.
  • Shown Their Work: Like any good chemist, when checking the odor of unknown substances, Henry will use his hand to waft the smell up towards his face, rather than sticking his nose right next to it (which risks chemical burns or poisoning). Henry does this so often it's practically a character tic.
  • The Shrink:
    • At Chaning Cross Asylum, the doctor assigned to Henry is somewhere between the Harmful and the Well-Meaning types. At the turn of the 19th century, there was a belief that patients could be forced to better mental health by punishing them for undesirable behavior or beliefs. Thus Henry was given a "treatment" better known today as waterboarding.
    • In "Skinny Dipper" Henry is ordered to see a therapist, and is assigned to Dr. Lewis Farber, who puts him at ease with Darjeeling tea, a British accent, and talk of missing England. He's actually Adam, Henry's immortal stalker, using a false identity as part of setting Henry up with an elaborate Batman Gambit.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: At the end of "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths," Henry, annoyed with Adam taunting him about inevitably becoming a sociopath, flatly denies Adam's claims that Henry is just like him, and for good measure and emphasis throws the cell phone they've been communicating with into the river.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": When Henry and the killer tumble down a flight of stairs together in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" we can hear a loud crunch when Henry's back is broken.
  • Single Specimen Species: Henry and Adam each believed themselves to be the only immortal in the world, until they learned of each other's existence.
  • Sinister Suffocation: Twice in "The Ecstasy of Agony," first to the victim of the week by using a continuous low-grade electrical charge to force his diaphragm to seize up, then later with Henry using a leather collar attached to a pulley to pull up on his neck while his bonds hold his body in place, choking him repeatedly.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: "The King of Columbus Circle" involves an old man who seemingly dies of cancer. He turns out to be the deposed king of a fictional East European country called Urkesh. Henry later finds out that the man had an illegitimate daughter who was working as a waitress. In the end, it turns out that the old man was killed by radiation poisoning by an employee at the Urkesh consulate, who recognized him and wanted to pay him back for being tortured back in Urkesh during the days of the monarchy. He also poisons the king's widow, but Henry manages to pump her stomach in time. The killer then goes after the girl, even though the main target of his revenge is dead, and the girl didn't even know about her heritage until a few days before. During the struggle, he hears a baby crying and realizes that there is another descendant for him to kill. His gun is pointed at the baby when the cavalry arrives; luckily, he's killed before he succeeds.
  • Skinny Dipping: Whenever Henry dies, he reappears naked in the closest large body of water, so swimming naked is the natural consequence. Referenced in-universe and in the episode title by name when Henry is arrested for it in "Skinny Dipper."
  • Ski-Resort Episode: In "The Night In Question" Hanson is supposed to be going on one of these with his family, but when Henry and Jo need some information from a rural hospital along the way, Hanson offers to stop briefly to get it. Then one of his "nitwit kids" manages to fall in the parking lot and they have to stay for him to get x-rays. Then "nitwit two" gets his arm stuck in a vending machine. On the plus side, that means Hanson is still at the hospital when they need more information. Presumably he eventually makes it to the ski lodge off-screen.
  • Slashed Throat:
    • Threatened by the killer in "Look Before You Leap" when holding Henry hostage with a scalpel right over his carotid artery.
    • How Adam kills Henry quickly in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" when Henry is paralyzed and close to dying, in danger of being discovered by Det. Martinez and potentially having her see him die and vanish.
    • Self-inflicted in "The Night In Question" by Abigail, when Adam tries to kidnap her to force her to tell him how to find Henry. She kills herself to protect Henry, telling Adam he's alone, meaning there is no other immortal.
    • Used by Adam as a quick way to disappear when about to be discovered by Jo in "The Last Death of Henry Morgan."
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Henry is horrified when he learns his father has been engaging in the slave trade. On board the Empress of Africa, the captain wants to throw an African man overboard on suspicion of cholera, even after his ship's doctor has told him he has nothing contagious, and when Henry refers to him as "this man" the captain angrily corrects him, "He's not a man, he's property!"
  • Sleeping Their Way to the Top: In "The Wolves of Deep Brooklyn" Melanie said that Jason accused her of this after she rejected his advances. She didn't, and that conversation never actually took place: Oliver paid her to take the fall for his death.
  • Sleeps in the Nude: Henry's excuse for turning up naked in the East River is that he's a sonambulist (sleepwalker) and he sleeps naked.
  • Sleepwalking: In "Skinny Dipper" Henry tells Lieutenant Reece, after he's arrested for Skinny Dipping, that he's a somnambulist and he Sleeps in the Nude. She makes the rather sensible suggestion (given what she doesn't know) that he invest in pyjamas.
  • Small Steps Hero:
    • After Henry has stolen the key to the shackles and cell door in the slave ship in "Dead Men Tell Long Tales," he's ordered to check a man for signs of cholera, and despite his insistence the man is not contagious, the Captain orders him thrown over the side of the ship. Henry refuses to step aside and let them kill him, even though by standing up for this one man's life, he puts in jeopardy his plan to save all three hundred African prisoners destined for slavery.
    • Henry breaking this is what caused him to stop being a medical doctor. In the past he once chose to hide before he died rather than try to save a man who had been shot, in order to avoid people witnessing his death and disappearance. After that, he truly believed he did not have the right to be a doctor since he'd broken his Hippocratic Oath.
  • Smells of Death:
    • This is what Adam says he remembers most about Auschwitz concentration camp in "Hitler On the Half-Shell".
    • In "The Pugilist Break" a couple being shown an apartment by a realtor notice the odor and thus discover a dead body in it.
  • Smells Sexy: Invoked by Maureen Delacroix, who says she loves Abe's musk, in "The Ecstasy of Agony."
  • Snake Oil Salesman: Henry was around to see said phonies in their heyday. In "The Pugilist Break" a flashback shows one of his friends trying (some fairly painful) electroshock therapy after being diagnosed with tuberculosis.
  • Snow Means Love:
    • When Henry and Abigail meet, there's snow blowing through the air around them.
    • At the end of "Diamonds Are Forever" Henry and Jo sit on her front steps, talking about her late husband. After Henry states confidently that the two of them were in love, and her husband knew their last fight hadn't changed that, snow begins to swirl around them. There's an obvious double meaning as Henry and Jo sit close together, talking intimately, Jo leaning her head on Henry's shoulder.
  • Social Engineering: In the episode of that name, a hacker seduces someone with access to codes he needs, then dumps her once he gets them. His girlfriend uses the term, explaining she doesn't see this as infidelity since he was only using sex to manipulate a target and it didn't mean anything emotionally.
  • Soft Water: Averted with a detailed description of the consequences of falling from a high bridge in "Look Before You Leap" which invokes the analogy to landing on concrete.
    Henry: When you fall off a bridge, your body accelerates to an impact of roughly ten miles per hour per story. So, from here, the fall is roughly 70 miles per hour. The water is like concrete. When you land, the bones in your hips shatter and get driven into your internal organs. If you should survive, you can't stop yourself from sinking. All things considered, it's one of the worst ways to die, certainly in the top twenty.
  • So Proud of You:
    • When Henry's father is dying in the flashback of "Dead Men Tell Long Tails," he tells Henry how proud he is to have raise a son who is a better man than he is.
    • To cap an emotional conversation in "The Last Death of Henry Morgan," Lucas quotes John Milton to Henry. He then admits he looked it up in anticipation of their conversation because he wanted to sound smart.
    Henry Morgan: You are smart, Lucas. I'm proud of you.
  • Sorry That I'm Dying: Played with in the flashback of "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" when Henry dies in Abigail's arms. He repeats that he's sorry, but it's as much because she won't understand when he vanishes as because he's dying.
  • Soup Is Medicine: In "New York Kids" Abe boasts that his Jungle Thai Curry Soup is guaranteed to cure colds and bullet wounds.
  • Stalker without a Crush: Adam the mysterious caller is excited to have finally found someone else with his "condition," and monitors Henry's activities. He also sends him gifts from Henry's past; e.g., sending him a picture of Henry and Abigail after their wedding, writing a note on stationery from the hotel where Henry and Abigail once stayed, giving Abraham the Nazi documents that can identify his parents, or directing him to and gifting him with the pistol that killed him.
  • Staircase Tumble:
    • In "The Art of Murder" Gloria Carlyle falls down a marble staircase, inflicting fatal damage. She still manages to crawl thirty feet so that she can die in front of a painting by her lover.
    • In "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" Henry and the killer are struggling, Henry still having a long Liston knife impaling him through the chest, and they end up tumbling together down a flight of stairs, landing with a Sickening "Crunch!". The killer gets up a few moments later, but Henry's neck is broken and he can't move (as well as still having the knife stuck through his thorax). The killer grinds his boot into Henry's back for good measure before staggering away.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Jo and Hanson are discussing a burned out car with their heads stuck in it when suddenly Henry, who wasn't there 30 seconds ago, interjects.
  • Stopped Caring: Adam claims that this is an inevitable result of living for thousands of years.
  • Stopped Clock:
    • Averted in the pilot when Jo finds Henry's watch in the crashed subway car and, rather than stopping at the time of the crash, it's still ticking.
    • Played with in "Dead Men Tell Long Tales" when Henry, who has just learned of Adam's theory that the weapon which originally killed an immortal may be able to kill them permanently, and is holding the flintlock with which he was shot in his own first death, suddenly becomes aware of the ticking of the clock on the mantle. He asks Abe if he's had it fixed, and Abe replies that it's been ticking all along.
  • Strong Girl, Smart Guy: Jo is a tough homicide detective while Henry is generally an Actual Pacifist with a couple of extra centuries of knowledge and experience on top of his being a physician and scientist. Jo is far from stupid and Henry is able to fight when he has to, but their predominant traits fit the trope.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: In the flashbacks of "Social Engineering" Henry's Love Interest Anne, a nurse, jumps in front of Henry to prevent him from being shot by his now old wife Nora, who was trying to show Henry's "gift" to the world. Nora is taken away to the asylum (Laser-Guided Karma for doing the same to Henry years before), and Henry is left holding the dying body of his new love. Justified since Anne didn't know about Henry's secret. Even if she did, she might have done the same thing anyway to help Henry keep his secret and continue to do good as a doctor.
  • Suddenly Shouting: When Henry is arrested for undressing to swim in the river for the second time, and has to explain himself to Lieutenant Reece, he starts out calm, but raises his voice out of stress, a fact he realizes and apologizes for immediately.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: Henry looks about 40 (i.e. the age of the actor playing him). However, being immortal (both of The Ageless and Resurrective Immortality kinds) means that the son he adopted in the 1940s as a baby (after rescuing him from a Nazi concentration camp) now looks twice his age. They made a decision that Abe would never introduce his girlfriends to Henry because they would eventually realize he wasn't aging; when they finally try to arrange a dinner for Henry to meet Abe's twice-over ex-wife Maureen Delacroix in "The Ecstasy of Agony", Maureen assumes Henry is Abe's son from a past relationship.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: In "Social Engineering" Henry has had two different hackers try to blackmail him by threatening to reveal that his credentials are faked. When Jo pulls him aside and tells him she got a mysterious email suggesting she look into them, Henry thinks the jig is up. It turns out one of the hackers, whose life he'd saved, created a better fake background for him, but he didn't know about it until Jo tells him. He goes along with it readily.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Henry gives a heartfelt, "I'm sorry," after Adam describes being torturously experimented on by Nazi scientists. As Abe points out when he hears about it, it shows that "he was a victim, too."

    T-Z 

  • Tag Along Kid: Though at 69 Abe is only a kid in comparison to his immortal father, Henry's son Abraham sometimes sticks his nose where it doesn't belong in a manner and attitude that definitely fit this trope.
  • Taken Off the Case:
    • After information about an autopsy leaks to the press, Henry is taken off the case in "The Art of Murder" when he takes the blame to protect Lucas. He says he's never been taken off a case before.
    • In "Punk Is Dead" the whole department is ordered to not go anywhere near a prime suspect because he's already the subject of an extensive DEA investigation which could be disrupted by local interference. Lieutenant Reece explicitly points out to Henry that he works for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, not the police, so she has no jurisdiction to tell him what to do — then outlines exactly where to find the suspect.
  • Taking the Bullet: In the flashbacks for "Social Engineering" Henry's first wife, Nora, wants to prove to the world that he's immortal, so she brings a gun to the hospital and tries to shoot him in public. Anne, a nurse he was becoming romantically involved with, moved in front of him to shield him and was killed instead.
  • Taking You with Me: The pilot's Villain of the Week has incapacitated Jo and fatally shot Henry. Before he can put the poison into the train station's air conditioning system, though, Henry uses the last of his strength to tackle him off of the roof. Naturally, both of them die, but ultimately it sticks a little less for one of them.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: This is what the victim in "Look Before You Leap" intended to do when she climbed down onto a precarious ledge below a bridge; turns out her colleague lured her there, safely anchored himself, so that he could push her off and make it look like she had committed suicide.
  • Talk Like a Pirate: In "Dead Men Tell Long Tales" the case involves a team of treasure hunters retrieving goods from a sunken ship. Lucas makes several comments in a stereotypical Hollywood pirate voice, most of them bad puns, much to Henry's dismay.
  • Tan Lines: Henry recognizes a widow/widower or divorcé(e) by their ring finger having an indentation; if it's recent there's a tan line but if it's been a little longer the tan line has faded.
  • A Taste of the Lash: The victim of the week in "The Ecstasy of Agony" was flagellated, in this case as part of "domination therapy".
  • Tasty Gold: The dead treasure hunter in "Dead Men Tell Long Tales" is found to have traces of gold on his back molars, presumably from biting a gold coin to test its purity.
  • Tea Is Classy: Henry not only drinks tea, he brews it properly whenever possible, rather than using a tea bag. When Dr. Farber wants to put Henry at ease for their first therapy session, he serves Darjeeling tea with the full tea set in a sort of low-key ceremony.
  • Technicolor Toxin: The poison featured in the pilot is a purple-blue color. Justified as it's aconite, which is derived from monkshood, a similarly colored flower.
  • Technologically Blind Elders: Henry is this in spades, although since he still looks 34, to most people he just comes across as eccentric.
  • The Teetotaler:
    • According to Abe in the first episode, Henry gave up drinking 28 years before, a date which corresponds to the flashback in "Punk Is Dead" when Abe arrived to help Henry put his life back together after Abigail left him and disappeared.
    • In "The Art of Murder" Gloria Carlyle declines an offered drink, stating, "Never drink, and you never lose your head!"
  • Thanatos Gambit: In "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" both immortals engage in this. Adam has a theory that the weapon which originally killed an immortal is the only thing that can kill them permanently, in his case a Roman pugio dagger. Henry knows that Adam has tortured people to death in the quest to recover his pugio, so when Jo takes possession of it, Henry is justified fearing what Adam will do to her to get it. Henry steals the dagger and arranges to meet Adam in an abandoned subway tunnel. It quickly becomes clear that Adam expects Henry to try to kill him with the pugio, possibly Adam's intention all along, both to die and to turn Henry into a killer. Instead, Henry tosses the dagger to Adam's feet and walks away. Adam, furious, goads Henry, then when that fails, pulls out the flintlock which was used in Henry's first death and shoots Henry with it. Henry, dying, beckons Adam closer to hear his last words — at which point he uses a syringe to inject air into Adam's brainstem, causing him to rapidly develop Locked-In Syndrome, leaving Adam no longer a threat to anyone. Henry didn't know if the gun would kill him permanently, but the fact that Abe was waiting for Henry to resurrect in the river but was acutely anxious about whether he would indicates Henry knew Adam would shoot him with his flintlock and was at least worried it would stick. Henry found it worth the risk to be able to neutralize Adam.
  • That's an Order!: The inversion is deliberately invoked by Lieutenant Reece in "Punk Is Dead" when a murder suspect is already under investigation by the FBI, DEA, and others, so she's been ordered to keep all her detectives away from him. Reece quietly points out to Henry that since he works for the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, she doesn't actually have the authority to tell him what to do. She even adds some specific information on where the suspect can be found, then reminds Henry no one from her department can go with him.
  • Theme Serial Killer: "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" features a serial killer who painstakingly recreates a different famous murder for each kill. It starts with Jack the Ripper's brutal murder of Mary Kelley, which Dr. Morgan just happened to have been consulted on. A Black Dahlia comes next. Turns out he's actually basing his kills on a graphic novel that gave details of each murder, rather than the murders themselves. The killer is attempting to recreate a Boston Strangler kill when Henry interrupts; the ensuing fight takes long enough for Jo to arrive and stop him more permanently.
  • There Is Only One Bed: In "Social Engineering," when Jo and Henry test whether a room could have filled with lethal levels of gas, they lie together on the victim's bed, close together, talking quietly — wearing gas masks.
  • These Hands Have Killed: After Henry kills Adam's mortal patsy Clark Walker in "Skinny Dipper", Jo, who has also killed someone, places her hand on Henry's. Henry just looks down at their hands wordlessly.
  • There Is Another:
    • In the pilot, Henry has been immortal for 200 years and never met another like himself, so he believes he is the only one. Then his anonymous caller tells him they "share the same pain, same curse, same affliction."
    • In a flashback in "The Night In Question" Adam, who in 2,000+ years has never met another immortal and thought he was alone, meets Abigail, and her reaction to his claim of immortality reveals to him that she has met another like him, setting him on a thirty year quest to find Henry.
  • They Died Because of You: Henry is heartbroken to learn in "The Night In Question" that Abigail first deliberately crashed a car, then slit her own throat, in order to protect Henry from being found by Adam. Her last words were an attempt to convince Adam there was no other immortal, even as her actions proved otherwise. Especially sad since Henry had told Dr. Farber his worst fear was "someone getting hurt because of me."
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Henry gets killed a lot in the early episodes of the series. In the first episode alone he dies in a subway crash, determines what poison a victim was killed with by dying of it himself, and tackles a bad guy on a roof, sending them both over the edge to their deaths. Once the series has established his Resurrective Immortality, they stop killing him quite so often, but he still can't seem to make it more than a few weeks without ending up in the East River.
  • They Would Cut You Up:
    • When Henry gets an anonymous phone call from someone who knows his secret in the first episode, he's ready to flee the country immediately, reminding Abe, "This has happened before! I've had every ounce of my blood drained, my organs dissected in the name of science!"
    • As revealed in "Hitler On the Half-Shell", Adam experienced this firsthand during World War II at the hands of Josef Mengele, who kept trying to figure out the secret to Adam's immortality through numerous torturous experiments.
  • This Is Reality: Early in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" Lucas complains about wanting something exciting to happen in the morgue, to which Henry replies that real death isn't like Lucas's comic books. note 
  • Title In: To identify the time (and sometimes place) of Henry's flashbacks.
  • Together in Death: This is one of the big reasons Henry wants to find a way to die permanently. After Abigail leaves him, she promises to contact him soon, and then she disappears off the face of the Earth, Henry becomes certain something must have happened to her to prevent her return. He's right. When Henry can't find her after more than a year and Abe urges him to give up, Henry tells Abraham he doesn't want to live without her and would kill himself if he were able to make it stick.
    Henry: Try watching as everyone you've ever loved in this world, goes off to another.
  • Tomboyish Name: Detective Martinez's first name, Jo, sounds like the masculine "Joe" and she is never referred to as "Josephine" or any other feminine version.
  • Too Broken to Break: When Henry is kidnapped and tortured in "The Ecstasy of Agony" his kidnapper tells Henry he's going to make him hurt worse than he ever has in his life. Henry gives him a grin that's half wolfish, half bitter despair, and tells him he honestly doesn't think that's possible.
  • Too Injured to Save: In "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" they find a murder victim still warm, and while the detectives spread out to look for the killer, Henry realizes the man is still alive. He tries to save him, but Adam, who has much more experience with such things, assures him the man is too far gone to save.
  • To Unmasque the World: Nora's goal in the flashbacks of "Social Engineering." She wants Henry to tell the world about his immortality, calling it a miracle, and when he refuses, she tries to shoot him in public so that others will be able to see it's real.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Jo Martinez wears her wedding ring on a chain around her neck. She tends to fiddle with it when thinking of her late husband, sometimes then pulling out a photo of him to contemplate.
  • Trapped in a Sinking Car: In the episode "Skinny Dipper," mysterious caller Adam decides to prove to Henry that he really is a fellow immortal, in dramatic fashion. He kills a cabbie and steals his cab, then picks Henry up outside the precinct and kidnaps him. He locks all the doors and the barrier between passenger and driver, then drives at high speed down a pier and shoots himself in the head, his body vanishing, leaving Henry still trapped in the now completely out of control car. The car plunges into the Hudson and sinks out of sight in seconds. Thanks to the front window being shattered by the gunshot, the car fills with water rapidly, Henry desperately struggling to escape as the water rises around him, until Henry drowns. When the car is recovered later, Jo notices Henry staring fixedly at the ominous scratch marks left all over the inside of the passenger compartment.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Henry has lost almost everyone he's ever loved, and knows that anyone left, he'll lose eventually. He's still badly scarred by both Nora's betrayal and Abigail's disappearance. Various tortures that have resulted from his secret being discovered leave him almost pathologically unable to confide in anyone. At the start of the series, Henry is trying hard to wall himself off and not to allow anyone new to get close to him emotionally, but he's too good a person to stand by and let evil go unchallenged, so he ends up getting involved and becoming vulnerable again. After the extra-traumatic episode "Skinny Dipper" he's hurting even worse, at times seeming to no longer care if he dies in front of someone, exposing his secret. By the end of the season, Adam's manipulations have Henry so afraid of others getting hurt, yet so unable to confide in them, that his trying to act the hero on his own nearly destroys his relationship with Jo.
  • TV Telephone Etiquette: Adam might greet Henry with a "Hello, Henry!" but he doesn't bother with goodbyes, often hanging up just as Henry is about to say or ask something. Henry returns the favor in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" when her not only closes the burner phone to hang up on Adam, but throws it into the river for good measure. When Henry answers the phone knowing in his gut it's going to be Adam, he doesn't bother with hello either, just picking up the phone and putting it to his ear at the end of "Skinny Dipper". In "The Night In Question" when Henry calls Adam because he's figured out Adam was the motorcycle rider who'd kidnapped Abigail, he wastes no time on niceties, going straight to accusing Adam of killing her.
  • Twisted Christmas: The Christmas motif fills "Skinny Dipper" with caroles, decorations, cars bringing home a bundled up Christmas tree on the roof, ice skaters, and more caroles. It also includes Henry trapped in the back of a taxi as it sinks into the river, desperately fighting to escape until he drowns; getting arrested; being framed for murder by his stalker; and a seriously Downer Ending where The Bad Guy Wins by tricking Henry into killing someone after avoiding doing so for 235 years, leading to a Heroic BSoD as the stalker reveals himself to be someone Henry had liked and started to confide in.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Lieutenant Reece is the only black main character and a woman.
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: Played with in "The Art of Murder" when Henry and Abigail are caught in the rain; instead of sharing one umbrella, Henry holds his coat spread out over their heads to provide improvised shelter and they dash for the museum entrance huddled under that.
  • Understanding Boyfriend: Abigail was an Understanding Wife. In a flashback in "The Last Death of Henry Morgan," after Henry gets stabbed he dies in Abigail's arms, apologizing that she won't understand right up until his body vanishes with his death. In the past Henry has always moved away when his secret has been revealed, but Henry can't resist sneaking into their apartment later that night to say goodbye to baby Abraham, and he looks up on hearing a gasp to see Abigail staring at him, hand over her mouth. He starts trying to explain the situation in some manner that won't simply lead to his return to the asylum his first wife had put him in — until Abigail embraces him, realizing and accepting his immortality and understanding how cursed he is and how isolated he must have been always having to hide his secret.
    Abigail: You poor man…
  • Unexpected Virgin: Played with. Fawn Mahoney was Abe's first kiss as a child, and he'd declared to his best friend Lyle that he'd marry her one day, but that same day someone from Henry's past who'd seen him die recognized him, so the family had to move away in a hurry. In modern day, Abe reads Lyle's obituary and decides to reconnect with Fawn. When they meet, he tells her he wasn't sure she's remember him; she replies that he's the only man she ever kissed besides her husband.
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode: "Skinny Dipper" puts Henry through more hell than all the previous episodes put together, including getting kidnapped, drowning in the back of a sinking taxi, getting arrested (and razzed by everyone at work for it), getting flashbacks of the drowning while examining the taxi when it's found in the Hudson river, his watch being found at a crime scene, getting sent to mandatory therapy (with flashbacks to time in a horrific early 19th century asylum), getting framed for murder, being found with the murder weapon still bearing the victim's blood, having to figure out how to explain himself to his boss and colleagues, and culminating in a Downer Ending where The Bad Guy Wins, as Henry is tricked into killing a mortal for the first time in his 235 years, and learns that it was all masterminded by someone he'd liked and started to trust.
  • Unreliable Voiceover: When Adam tells Henry "what really happened" to Abigail, his voiceover says Abigail feared he meant Henry harm, but glosses over why, which we see was Adam threatening to torture not only Abigail herself, but the innocent girl she had taken home with her to protect her from an abusive boyfriend. Adam also tells Henry, "I know you must think me a monster, but I tried to save her," while the flashback shows Adam revived Abigail with CPR, but not out of any care for her life, his only concern being finding out about the other immortal Abigail had clearly met before (i.e. Henry).
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Henry and Jo start out becoming friends, but this becomes more and more apparent in the last several episodes.
  • Unreveal Angle: One of the techniques used to hide Adam's identity until the end of "Skinny Dipper."
  • Unwilling Suspension: In "The Ecstasy of Agony" Henry is suspended off the ground chained to a Saint Andrew's cross by his kidnapper, who then uses a pulley attached to a leather collar to pull him upwards by the neck even further, to the limits of the bonds on his wrists and ankles, choking him.
  • Unwitting Muggle Friend: Jo and Henry become close friends, but until the very end of the series, she has no idea Henry is immortal. Lucas also might qualify by the end of the series, having been let into Henry's basement laboratory among other things.
  • Urban Fantasy: The show is set in what is basically modern-day New York City, but with the addition of enough magic to allow Henry and Adam to be immortal. The immortality and its associated phenomena are the only apparent fantastic element.
  • Used to Be More Social: Played with for Henry. In a flashback to before his immortality in "Hitler On the Half-Shell," he meets up with friends at their club, but he hasn't been around for a while due to his father's illness. In "Best Foot Forward" Henry only attends a party because he's tricked into thinking the hostess is ill, but he clearly is friends with her, and he's recently had a girlfriend stolen by Hemingway. In flashbacks with Abigail in "The Art of Murder," she's the one coaxing him to crash a party with her, and it's unclear how much of a social life they had outside of work. In the modern day, Henry starts out the pilot with no friends, so just about any level of sociability in the past would count.
  • Useless Security Camera: The cameras at the 11th precinct and the OCME never catch anything useful, with bad guys doing things like leaving a human heart on Hanson's desk in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" or stealing Henry's autopsy tools, using them in a murder, and then putting them back in "Skinny Dipper" yet never being caught on camera. Averted once in "The Ecstasy of Agony" when Henry is kidnapped by a new love interest's stalker, and Jo and Hanson find the whole thing was recorded on the station's exterior security cameras, including an image that allows them to track down the kidnapper and rescue Henry. (They were useless in preventing the kidnapping or allowing anyone to spot it happening at the time, however.)
  • Vehicle Vanish: Henry does this to Jo in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths," when demonstrating that a certain spot would have allowed the killer to watch the hotel while being completely concealed from anyone coming from that direction.
  • Vehicular Kidnapping:
    • In "The Ecstasy of Agony" Molly's stalker uses a cattle prod to knock out Henry and throws him into the back of a van, right outside of the precinct house in broad daylight.
    • Adam uses a stolen taxi to kidnap Henry in "Skinny Dipper." He doesn't keep him long, his purpose is to prove to Henry that he is a fellow immortal — by trapping Henry in the back, then shooting himself and vanishing while the car is hurtling along a pier at high speed, leaving it to go over the edge and into the water with Henry still trapped inside.
  • Verbal Salt in the Wound: Adam frequently asks Henry about his most recent death, phrasing it as a concerned enquiry about how Henry is doing afterward. Since he's well aware that they both come back to life completely healed, the only purpose is to needle Henry about his immortality. In "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" Adam also comments on Abigail's final moments to try to get Henry to engage.
  • Victorian London: Henry became immortal in 1815, and there are numerous flashbacks. Most notable for the Victorian Era are his wife's reappearance in 1865 and Henry being consulted on the Jack the Ripper case in 1888.
  • The Vietnam Vet: Abraham. As a teen, he was eager to serve his country as his parents had done in World War II. After returning from the war Abe became involved in anti-war protests. In "The Wolves of Deep Brooklyn" Abe gets back together with men he served with to help solve the murder of the son of one of them.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: "The Art of Murder" is a serious offender, showing clips from earlier scenes every time something from the flashback is relevant to the case, often the same clip multiple times.
  • Villain of the Week: Although Adam is the recurring villain of the series, it's still a cop procedural, with weekly cases and criminals.
  • Villain Reveals the Secret: Attempted by Adam in the finale, when he shoots Henry with the gun that first killed him to find out whether it can kill him permanently. His plan is that Detective Martinez either find Henry's dead body, or watch him die and disappear, revealing Henry's immortality. Fortunately for Henry, Adam's timing is off and Henry has already vanished before she sees him.
  • Visual Pun: Henry is an immortal man roughly 200 years of age who comes back from the dead through a body of water.
  • The Voice: For his first few episodes, Adam is only a voice on the phone. At the end of "Look Before You Leap" for the audience and "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" for Henry, he becomes The Faceless instead.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot:
    • In the episode "New York Kids," a man is given sour milk to induce vomiting. The camera does not shy away from the results.
    • In "King of Columbus Circle," Henry manually pumps a woman's stomach to rid her of radiation poisoning.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere:
    • Whenever Henry dies, he wakes up in a nearby large body of water.
    • In "The Ecstasy of Agony" Henry is knocked out by a cattle prod, and first wakes up briefly in the killer's van, then fully revives in the killer's lair, chained to a Saint Andrew's Cross.
  • Walking the Earth: Apparently a good chunk of Henry's life between escaping the asylum and when he met Abigail. He talks of learning countless languages, seeing the world, and dying in various dramatic ways in exotic locations (Abe mentions dying in a powder keg explosion in 1843 on a Hudson Bay Company ship and in an avalanche (his second) in 1857 in the Klondike).
  • Wardens Are Evil: The unnamed man running the Charring Cross Asylum Henry is imprisoned in the 1815 flashbacks of "Skinny Dipper" uses what modern viewers recognize as waterboarding as part of Henry's "treatments." He admits that Henry seems to be perfectly sane, but proceeds anyway, and continues even as Henry pleads that he no longer believes he's immortal.
  • Wartime Wedding: Henry may not have formally proposed until 1955, but he and Abigail became a committed couple and parents to Abraham in the closing months of World War II. They likely would have had to use identities that were officially married in order to adopt and parent Abraham in that era.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Asked by the victim of a con artist pretending to be a noble in "The Man In the Killer Suit"; it turns out he was planning to reveal everything to her and beg her to forgive him because he'd fallen in love with her for real.
  • Water Torture: We see Henry subjected to this in the flashback of "The Ecstasy of Agony" in a very accurate depiction of waterboarding, in this case done at the asylum to punish Henry for believing he's immortal in an attempt to break him of his "delusion".
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Henry grew up idolizing his father, a man who taught him to live by his principles. He is horrified to learn that his father's shipping company has been transporting slaves, and calls him out on throwing aside his morals when the company was in debt and needed income fast. Henry swears never to take anything from his father again since his wealth was based on slavery. Nevertheless, when Henry's father is dying, and gives Henry his pocketwatch, telling him how proud he is that he raised a son who is a better man than he was, Henry is moved to tears. He accepts the heirloom after his father explains it's been passed down in the family for generations and thus was not from blood money. He may have lost respect for his father, but he still craves his approval.
  • Went Crazy When They Left: When Abigail left Henry, saying she needed a little time to think, Henry became convinced something had happened to her when three months went by with no word. By the time Abe visited him several months after that, Henry had fallen apart completely, his apartment a Mess of Woe housing a String Theory Stalker Shrine trying to track her down. It's also implied Henry has been drowning his sorrows, both by Abe having to pull him off the floor and put him to bed, and by Abe commenting in the pilot that Henry quit drinking 28 years before.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Skinny Dipper" has Henry see absolute confirmation of Adam's immortality and finally knowingly encounter him face-to-face.
    • "The Night in Question" reveals why Abigail left: She'd found a lovely cottage upstate, and intended to have Henry move in with her there, but then she encountered Adam; she ultimately ended up committing suicide in the hopes of protecting Henry from him.
  • Wham Line:
    • In the pilot, when the anonymous caller tells Henry it seems death isn't an option for either of them.
    • At the end of "Best Foot Forward" we get two. First, Jo tells Henry she realized she didn't want to go to Paris with Isaac, then Abe interrupts with important news for Henry.
    Abraham: I found mom.
    • More of a Wham Sound Effect in "The Last Death of Henry Morgan" when Adam pulls out the gun that killed Henry the first time and fires it to get Henry to stop.
    Adam: I can make you play, Henry! *bang*
    Henry: You have my gun?!?
    • When Adam reveals his true aim, what he thinks Henry fears above all else — exposure. He intends for Jo to either find Henry dead, or for her to see him disappear before her eyes.
    Adam: What you fear more than anything in this world is someone finding out your secret. I assume she heard that last shot. If not, she's sure to hear this one.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Jo spends the entire season finale with this view of Henry due to the fact he's keeping things from her and acting irresponsibly, and keeps putting himself in mortal danger. Culminates in him adding magnesium to a suspect's coffee which he suggests Jo give to him, causing symptoms of a heart attack, then implying to the man that he'll let him die if he doesn't tell Henry what he wants to know; Lucas stealing an important piece of evidence for Henry; and Henry taking that evidence into an abandoned subway tunnel to meet Adam, with Jo only hearing gunshots and then finding Henry's watch and a family picture left behind when she gets there. Luckily, she seems to be giving him a chance to explain at the end.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?:
    • Henry Morgan has been immortal for about 200 years. He has no idea how or why he was "cursed" with this "condition," although for a long time he thought it was a punishment for failing to save the lives of the African captives on a slave ship. Turns out he didn't fail, as the key he'd stolen for them dropped from his dead hand within their reach and they were able to take over the ship and sail it to free waters in the North. He's traveled, learned languages, had adventures, and gone through hardship and loss. At this point, he tells his son Abraham (who is now twice Henry's apparent age), he just wants to experience the natural cycle of life, to grow old like Abe.
    • Henry learns in the pilot that he is not alone, there is another immortal who calls himself Adam, but over the course of the series we learn the man is a complete sociopath and claims that he was once just as good and decent a man as Henry is, but the inevitable result of immortality will be losing all connection to humanity. All the more reason for Henry to seek a way out of his condition. Adam is conflicted; he has a theory that the weapon which first killed an immortal will be able to kill them permanently, in his case a Roman pugio dagger, but he's never been ready enough to die to test that theory himself. He does, however, try to goad Henry into trying to kill him with it. Adam tells Henry that the worst part of immortality is feeling like time is no longer moving for him.
  • Why Fandom Can't Have Nice Things: In-universe. In Episode 6, the writer of a cult graphic novel series admits he is mortally terrified of his fans, some of whom write disturbing things on his website — and one is a serial killer. This is very similar to Ioan Gruffudd's real-life experience with fandom, particularly when a fan threatened his girlfriend's life on his website.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Not an absolute for Henry, but he generally tries to tell the truth as much as he can, often using Exact Words and Metaphorically True to avoid telling outright lies whenever he can. An excellent example is Henry telling Jo what "Abe's mother" meant to him, keeping in mind that Jo has no idea Abe's mother is also Henry's wife Abigail, the love of Henry's life, and they were together for forty years and raised Abraham together from a baby.
    Henry: Though I knew her many years ago, when I was quite a bit younger, she was quite simply the most wonderful woman I've ever known. I don't often talk about my life then, but suffice to say that before her, I was a lost soul. And as you know, I have certain...eccentricities...I suppose I've always had them.
    Jo: I can only imagine, a young Henry Morgan, with a little scarf.
    Henry: Yes, well, I wasn't much different than the man you see before you, but Abraham's mother loved me, despite all my oddities, when I needed it most. And although we didn't have much time together, when she was gone it left a hole.
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men: Henry's first death is aboard a sailing ship, one engaging illegally in the slave trade at the time. He also once died on a Hudson Bay Company ship due to a powder keg explosion.
  • Worst Aid: In "New York Kids" Henry and Jo find a man unconscious from a drug overdose. Henry moves him to an upright position, then mixes sour milk and baking soda and pours the concoction into the man's slack mouth. Henry's goal is to induce vomiting, but if a person is unconscious, they can't swallow and they can't protect their airway by coughing. Pouring any liquid into an unconscious person's mouth is a good way to drown them, and if they survive that, foreign substances in their lungs will lead to a nasty aspiration pneumonia. This is why unconscious people are supposed to be placed in the "recovery position" lying on their side, so liquids (such as vomit) can drain out of their mouths instead of being inhaled.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Villain of the Week in "The King of Columbus Circle" tries to kill Lydia's infant child.
  • Wrench Whack: Henry uses a wrench to strike the mass murderer in the pilot, leading to a struggle over the gun he'd been holding on Henry.
  • You Are Not Alone:
    • Played far more darkly than usual in that the mysterious caller claims to be the same as Henry, unable to die, but he also implies that he's going to torment him about their curse. The caller also reveals that he is much, much older than Henry—he's roughly 2000 years old. The caller even calls himself Adam because he feels like he's "been here since the beginning."
    • Inverted in a flashback when Abigail tries to convince Adam that she doesn't know of any other immortals and he is, in fact, alone.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Quoted almost word for word in the pilot.
Henry: Abe is the only one who knows my secret. Fate brought us together years ago, and if I've learned nothing else from my time here, it's 'Don't mess with fate!'
  • You Didn't Ask: In the pilot, Jo discovers that Henry was on the subway train that crashed, information he neglected to volunteer when she saw him mere hours afterward. When she asks him why, Henry's reply boils down to this, explaining that he didn't think it was relevant and he didn't want to distract her from her investigation.
  • Your Favorite: After Henry is murdered in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" Abe makes up a batch of blueberry scones, Henry's favorite, because he thought a little comfort food would be in order.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Said word for word by Jo in the pilot when she sees that the owner of the pocketwatch found on the wrecked subway, caught on video entering the fatal car minutes before the accident, is the weird medical examiner she was just talking to.
  • You Said You Couldn't Dance: Henry and Jo visit a murder suspect when he's about to deliver a speech. He says he hates public speaking and then goes and delivers a well-received speech, afterwards telling the surprised duo "I said I hate public speaking; I never said I wasn't any good at it."
  • You're Insane!: Henry to his stalker multiple times. Also Nora to Henry when he tells her about his immortality.
  • You Wouldn't Believe Me If I Told You: Henry's usual reason for not explaining his immortality. Used more explicitly when Nora badgers Henry to tell her what happened to him on the ship he was supposed to have died on.

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