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Series / Frequency (2016)

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Frequency is a 2016 series produced by Jeremy Caver that aired on the CW in October 2016. It is based on the 2000 film of the same name.

It wasn't picked up for a second season, but The CW was courteous enough to produce a three minute epilogue tying up the loose ends.

Both South Korea and Japan have aired dramas with the same idea under the title Signal and same title.

This series provides examples of:

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder:
    • While undercover, Frank had an affair with a woman named Miracella.
    • Raimy rekindles her relationship with Daniel, but it turns out he's now engaged to another woman. And then Raimy herself is starting to get emotionally involved with her other fling, Kyle Mosby...though it seems she's just getting to know him before the timeline changes and their fling is likely erased from history.
  • Alone with the Psycho:
    • Raimy sneaks into the Deacon's house alone because she heard alarming noises. Meanwhile, Satch at the police station figures out that something is fishy with the Deacon's story and sends a backup to his house. However, they arrive too late to prevent the Deacon from escaping after a hefty fight with Raimy.
    • Meghan finds herself in this situation in the final episode when she is alone with her brother and he reveals himself as the Nightingale Killer. There is no-one coming to her aid as he smashes her head against a wall.
  • Alternate Timeline: Raimy finds herself living in this although she still retains memories of the old history.
  • Attention Whore: Eva Salinas, who fakes her abduction by the Nightingale Killer just to be on the news.
  • Authentication by Newspaper: Frank takes a picture of himself with a newspaper in 1996 and buries it to be found by Raimy in 2016. The date on the paper convinces her that their communication across time is for real.
  • Bluff the Impostor: In Episode 11, Satch does this to prove that Julie and Frank are spinning a tale about Frank's alibi. First Satch asks Julie which movie they rented for their movie night and she says Twister. Satch then asks Frank separately how The Bridges of Madison County was and Frank's reaction confirms that the two haven't aligned their stories.
  • Butterfly of Doom: Quite a lot can go wrong when changing details in the past. Exactly this is why Raimy decided not to involve her mother when Frank had her on the radio.
    • Preventing Frank's death led to her mother being killed by the Nightingale murderer instead of another victim.
    • Raimy eventually realizes the reason her boyfriend Daniel doesn't know her: in the original timeline, they met when Raimy was visiting her mom at the hospital when Daniel was a patient. In the altered timeline, without her mom around, there was no reason for Raimy to go to the hospital and thus never met Daniel.
  • Canon Foreigner: Stan Moreno, Captain of the 21st Precinct in 2016, and the man who got Frank to go undercover in 1996.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The red pickup truck Raimy notices in Episode 11 comes to play a role in Episode 13 when she learns that it belonged to Robbie which helps her to put the pieces together.
    • In the season final, Stan Moreno mentions in passing that he only lives 3 blocks away from Frank, a detail that later becomes important when Frank asks him to rush over and look out for his wife.
  • Circling Monologue: Raimy circles around Karl while frying him about his con story of "talking to the future self".
  • Close-Enough Timeline: Played with: Raimy preventing her father's murder in 1996 does result in some major changes to her life and the world around her — such as her mother being abducted and murdered in 1997 and a serial killer who 'originally' disappeared now continuing to remain active for the past two decades (not to mention, her never having met her boyfriend). That said however, Raimy's life is the same in most other respects — she still has the same job, her superior at the precinct and other co-workers are the same, and her father still ended up dying (albeit a good 15 years later than he originally did).
  • Coincidental Broadcast: When Raimy has a chat with Gordo, she walks into the living room at the right time to witness a TV news report showing Eva giving away crucial information to the press which outrages Raimy.
  • Comforting Comforter: In one of Raimy's flashbacks we see Frank covering her up while she's sleeping on the couch.
  • Compromising Call: When Raimy sneaks into the killer's house on her own, her phone starts ringing, which alerts the villain and eventually leads to his escape.
  • Conflict Ball: Raimy refuses to talk to her mother in the past and confirm that Frank is telling the truth, after she'd spent the whole episode insisting she be brought in on the loop. It's implied that Raimy decided not to bring her mother in on the loop out of fear that doing so would cause even more changes to an already altered timeline.
  • Consulting a Convicted Killer: Raimy's meetings with Karl, a convict serving a life sentence, who promised to help her with her case. It turns out a dead end. Or is it?
  • Conveniently Interrupted Document: Larissa's diary, which Frank finds in her room, has pages ripped out.
  • Cowboy Cop: Both Frank and Raimy. Frank is more than happy to burst onto Thomas Goff's mother's property with nothing even resembling a warrant or probable cause (after having been told not to come back by her the last time he showed up), while Raimy essentially threatens to murder Thomas to get his mother to help track him down.
  • Criminal Mind Games: The Nightingale murderer seems to play such a game with the police and Frank in particular. Lampshaded by Raimy: "He's toying with us. He's always one step ahead."
  • Daddy Didn't Show: Frank has to cancel the movie evening with his estranged daughter, in order to hunt down the Nightingale killer. Raimy is overly disappointed and the mother accuses Frank of being Married to the Job. Happens again in Episode 10 where young Raimy is disappointed when Frank explains that he cannot make it to hear her play at the school's Winter Concert.
  • Darkened Building Shootout: When Frank is at Amanda's place and hears noises, he sends her away, draws his weapon and goes after the disturbance. But instead of turning on the lights in the house, he proceeds in the dark and is subsequently overpowered by a surprise attack of the Nightingale Killer.
  • Dead Man Honking: A non-lethal version. After Frank's car gets t-boned at the end of Episode 10, his head hits the steering wheel which causes a continuous honking.
  • Death Notification: One of Raimy's first assignments as a cop is to bring back bad news to the parents of Gina, the female victim in episode 5.
  • Dirty Cop: Stan Moreno, and he doesn't like the fact that Raimy is on to him.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Julie used to own a gun, but stashed it away at some point. When Frank offers her one of his guns to protect herself, she refuses vehemently.
  • The End... Or Is It?: In the season finale, everyone is happy, but then we see the serial killer nearby, walking a dog. When it turned out to be the series finale, the CW released an online epilogue where Frank fixes the ham radio and talks to Raimy one last time; we learn that the killer was caught after all and recently died in prison and that Raimy is planning her wedding to Daniel, with her mother going a bit nuts over it. She begs Frank to prevent his death in 2011 just before the radio cuts out, then turns around to see him standing right behind her, alive and well, and the two tearfully embrace as she gets flashes of her new happy memories, thus preserving the movie's Earn Your Happy Ending.
  • Exactly Exty Years Ago: The two timelines are exactly 20 years apart. Similar to the movie version which worked on a 30 years gap.
  • Exiled to the Couch: The problem arises when Frank comes back into Julie's life and she doesn't know if she should let him sleep in her bed or on the couch.
  • Expendable Alternate Universe:
    • How Raimy starts treating her reality when she believes Frank is going to kill the Nightingale Killer in the past, so she has a free shot at him in the present. Sadly for her, the Reset Button did not go exactly as expected.
      Raimy: I shot the son of a bitch. And none of it matters.
    • Raimy does it again, trading the means for suicide for information from Deacon Joe, knowing that she can send back the information to get an earlier arrest and avert the suicide.
  • Fair Cop: Raimy and Frank. The Sullivan gene pool is certainly blessed.
  • Fat Best Friend: Gordo.
  • Flashback Effects: Raimy's flashbacks are Color-Coded for Your Convenience. Scenes that depict her memories from a past timeline are tinted in blue, while the ones from her current timeline have a golden glow.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Played for Laughs when Raimy meets a cop from another department on a case. She's polite, treating him like a stranger, and he just smirks about how "you never called me back." Raimy is confused...then "remembers" how she had a steamy one-night stand with the guy after drinking at a bar.
  • Gender Flip: John Sullivan from the film becomes Raimy Sullivan in the series. Also, Sam, John's Love Interest in the film, becomes Daniel here and has a larger role.
  • Get a Room!: In one of Raimy's flashbacks, she and her boyfriend start kissing heavily in a photo booth, at which point somebody from outside asks them to get a room.
  • Get Out!: Raimy evicts a nosy Gordo from the shed with a couple of "Get out" shouts.
  • Hollywood CB:
    • Some scenes have Raimy and Frank communicate without pressing any buttons before speaking. Ham radio is not duplex communication, they need to key the microphone to speak, and let go of the key so the other party can do the same themselves.
    • They take the ham radio transmitter into a hospital as if it wouldn't require an antenna to work with. One could make the case that this radio doesn't need an antenna though, since no antenna is going to allow you to talk to someone in a different time. The connection is based on it being the same radio in both times. It's broadcasting to itself.
    • An eight-year old is able to carry a ham radio by herself like it weights 10 pounds.
  • Hollywood Law: Satch's loyalty to Stan is revealed to be because he helped Satch cover up his killing a perp early in his career, claiming it was in self-defense. Trouble is, the flashback of the event clearly shows that it really was self-defense by any reasonable measure, making every single viewer question what the point of the conspiracy was. Some fans speculated that, given the massive increase in attention to police brutality in the previous couple years, the crew had decided the audience would instantly lose all sympathy for Satch if he really had wrongfully killed someone, but it was too late to alter the story in a way that made any sense.
  • Hospital Hottie: Raimy's mom Julie is a nurse, later doctor in the restored timeline, and like her daughter and husband is quite a knockout herself.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Most of the episode titles reference electronics and/or radios:
    1. Pilot
    2. Signal and Noise
    3. The Near Far Problem
    4. Bleed Over
    5. Seven Three
    6. Deviation
    7. Break, Break, Break
    8. Interference
    9. Gray Line
    10. The Edison Effect
    11. Negative Copy
    12. Harmonic
    13. Signal Loss
  • Idiot Ball:
    • When Frank approaches the blue truck parked next to the playground, he does so in the most conspicuous manner, alerting the driver in time to pull out and escape. At the very least, Frank should've found a way to get the truck's license plate number before he made the driver aware he was after him.
    • After getting confirmation from Frank that her life is in danger, Julie refused Frank's offering of a gun for protection. As of episode 11, she took the gun.
  • Instant Death Bullet: When Raimy executes the Deacon, she shoots him in the right upper chest which makes him drop dead instantly.
  • ISO-Standard Urban Groceries: In Episode 11, Julie comes home with grocery bags with a baguette sticking out.
  • It Was Here, I Swear!: In order to prove the Deacon's guilt Raimy leads the police to the secret room in his house where he hid the corpse of his wife. But due to small changes in the past, the Deacon had buried her in the woods instead making Raimy look like a crazy person.
  • I've Come Too Far: The Deacon mentions to his daughter Meghan that he has come too far to let her sabotage his work, so she must die as well.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Raimy performs this successfully on the Deacon in Episode 12. First she waterboards him in the toilet and then punches him in the nuts.
  • Juxtaposed Reflection Poster: is about a father, Frank, in 1996 who can communicate with his daughter Raimy in 2016. The poster has Frank and Raimy stand in their respective times (differentiated with an Orange/Blue Contrast) while also being reflected in the bottom poster... but Frank's reflection is Raimy, and Raimy's reflection is Frank.
  • Karma Houdini: Season 1 ends with the Nightingale Killer still on the loose. Subverted in the epilogue released after the series was canceled, where Raimy mentions that he was caught back in 1996 and died in prison last year.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Raimy, believing that Goff killed her mother, kicks him while he is lying handcuffed on the ground, right before she decides to execute him.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: An unexplained lightning surge revives the broken ham radio in 2016.
  • The Lost Lenore: In the epilogue when Raimy is begging Frank to remember the date of his accident so he can keep himself from dying, she does so not for her sake or even his but for Julie's.
    Raimy: (to 1996 Frank) I've never seen anyone miss someone like she misses you!
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's left unclear as to whether Karl is actually talking to the future or if he's simply a nutty serial killer who happened to dream up something that sounds a lot like how Raimy's radio works. Either way, Raimy decides in the end that he's not worth talking to.
  • Meanwhile, in the Future…: A feature of the original film version which is played at least Once per Episode. Whenever Frank changes something in the past, Raimy gets to see the changes apply to her timeline in real-time. E.g., the burn mark on the ham radio, the changes to Maya's police file on screen as she gets rescued, or the vanishing of Goff in front of Raimy's eyes once he commits suicide in the past.
  • Mexican Standoff: Happens between Frank and Little Jay during the sting.
  • Morality Chain: Robbie mentions that the reason he hasn't killed for 20 years was because of his sister.
  • Mum Looks Like a Sister: Julie in 2016. Given that Devin Kelley is less than a year older than Peyton List, she and Raimy look more like sisters than mother and daughter, no matter how much aging makeup and gray they add to her hair. When the timeline is restored and Julie is alive again, they don't even bother trying to age Kelley.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Murdering the Nightingale Killer is Raimy and Frank's preferred solution to protect Julie.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Raimy's reaction when she realizes that her actions have erased her relationship with her boyfriend, led to her mother's death and allowed the Nightingale Killer to continue his murder spree for twenty years.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Obviously, Raimy. Thanks to her decision to save her dad, her boyfriend has no memory of ever meeting her, her mom vanished in 1997 and was the victim of a serial killer who has now been alive and murdering for two decades.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: After Stan Moreno figures out that Frank was going to kill the Deacon, he remarks to Frank that both of them are not so different as either one is taking care of their problems in the same way. This allows Frank to call on Moreno for help against the Nightingale, but in a Shoot the Shaggy Dog moment, Stan is shot by Miracella before he can get there.
  • Overt Rendezvous: Frank and Miracella meet by a park bench to talk about how to frame Stan. Stan himself meets with associates at a cemetery.
  • Papa Wolf: Frank is struggling to get a statement out of Eva because her father is extremely protective of her.
  • Parental Abandonment: Little Raimy has suffered from being separated from her dad those two years he went undercover.
  • Pretty Boy: Satch often refers to Daniel playfully in this vein, to get a rise out of Raimy.
  • Pursuing Parental Perils: Robbie decides to continue the work of "saving people" which his father started.
  • Recycled: The Series: Takes the premise of the movie Frequency and turns it into a series.
  • Ripple Effect Indicator: A unique one as when Frank does something to alter the past, Raimy can immediately be hit by new "memories" of the new timeline. It's not always instant, however and sometimes Raimy needs to find something else to realize how things have changed.
    • Raimy's first sign of how drastically changed her life was? Going to meet Daniel only to find he had no memory of ever meeting her.
    • In the original 2016, the Sullivan house garage was packed with just various items. In the altered timeline, it now contains a private center of maps, billboards and files that Frank and Raimy have been using to track the Nightingale.
    • When Raimy goes to check out a suspect's house in 2016, she sends a message for Frank to check the same place out in 1996. When Raimy goes for a second look, she discovers a completely different family live there and realizes something Frank did alerted the suspect to move years before.
    • When Raimy double checks the file of a woman who vanished years before, she discovers it has now changed to note how she escaped her captor and was rescued.
    • The most dramatic: Goff vanishes in front of Raimy's eyes when his younger self commits suicide. Strangely, her injuries from fighting Goff remain.
  • Ripple-Proof Memory: Played with. Raimy does remember the old timeline but her mind now contains memories of the new history she has created. However, they're not instant; it's not until she hears of her mother's body being found that she suddenly "remembers" her mom vanishing in 1997.
    • The episode "Seven Three" uses this as a plot point: Raimy remembers her first day on the force both ways (when she was with Stan Moreno, and when she was with Frank).
  • Rooftop Confrontation: A flashback reveals Satch's Dark Secret. In the line of duty he once confronted a criminal on a rooftop and accidentally pushed him off.
  • Sentimental Music Cue: At least once per episode an emotional song comes on tugging away at your heart strings.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Initially, Raimy uses the ham radio to try to prevent her father's murder in 1996. She succeeds, but the Butterfly Effect from his survival leads to her mother being murdered by a serial killer. So now, Raimy's goal is to prevent her mother's murder in January 1997.
  • Silent Scapegoat: The Reveal that the Deacon decided to go to prison for 20 years for the killings his son committed.
  • Spanner in the Works: Young Raimy left her clarinet in Frank's car which leads to him having an accident which in turn leads to the Deacon not getting killed in 1996. This leads to Raimy facing serious charges in the non-erased present timeline where she executed the Deacon for her own satisfaction.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: After Frank is killed in the original timeline, he is accused of being a Dirty Cop and his reputation is destroyed.
    • When Raimy changes the timeline and Frank survives, he's hailed as a hero although now dealing with who set him up.
  • Stalker with a Crush: How Raimy comes off to Daniel in the altered timeline. Justified from his point of view as she's a total stranger who somehow knows everything about him and can't accept that, from his viewpoint, they've never met.
  • Sword over Head: Frank makes a decision not to kill Deacon Joe, at least in the short term, and to frame him for robbery instead. This was partly due to Julie persuading him that If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!.
  • Take Me Instead: Julie's line to the Nightingale Killer when he is about to go after young Raimy and Gordo.
  • Technology Marches On: Acknowledged in-universe.
    • Raimy forgets that things she takes for granted (cell phone cameras, wireless Internet, iPods, etc) didn't exist in 1996.
    • Forensics work was also more low-tech then so her father is lacking the tools needed to crack a case faster.
    • Played for laughs when Raimy mentions to Frank how she got a ton of information off the Internet while they're talking and he remarks "wow, your dial-up is fast!"
  • Tired of Running: Thomas Goff mentions to Raimy that he is tired of hiding.
  • Train Escape: When Frank pursues Robbie Womack at the harbor, the former escape by putting a train between them.
  • Trust Password: In order to fully convince Raimy that their communication across time was real, Frank takes a photo of himself with a newspaper from 1996 and tells Raimy where to find it in 2016.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Satch asks this of Raimy after she killed the Deacon in cold blood.
  • Voiceover Letter: Textbook example when Frank cites from Larissa's diary, describing the appearance and disappearance of Meghan at the Hideaway Camp. Frank's voice morphs into Larissa's voice at the beginning and back to his at the end of the narration.
  • "Wanted!" Poster: While on the run, the Deacon is in constant fear of being identified by people because his face shows prominently on the newspaper front pages.
  • Wham Line:
    • Daniel telling Raimy "I don't know you."
    • Episode 11 ends with one when Meghan reveals that the injured man in her arms is her brother (which everyone believed to be dead at that point).
  • Wham Shot: Raimy seeing the command center noting the Nightingale Killer's murder spree and then "remembering" her mother vanishing years ago.
    • Also, Raimy discovering the body of Amanda Baldwin, a woman who was originally killed by the Nightingale before Frank managed to prevent her murder in 1996. The killer finally gets her in 2016, and when Raimy reaches the crime scene, Amanda's body is lying on the floor, her wrists tied with prayer beads, and a recording of Raimy telling the press the police is working hard to catch the Nightingale is looping on the room's TV.
    • In "Harmonic", after Joe turns himself into police custody, in 1996, Raimy alone in her house in 2016 is startled by a noise, then overjoyed to discover it's Julie, and she happily embraces her mother, while also noticing she's wearing Daniel's engagement ring, only to flashback to 1996, and the "real" Nightingale Killer is revealed.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Stan Moreno? The last we see of him is lying on the ground bleeding after being shot down by Miracella.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Joe Hurley, suspected of being the Nightingale Killer, does this in "The Edison Effect". He shaves his beard, dyes his hair blond, wears glasses, and is able to evade detection by a cop who looks him straight in the face and is actually on the lookout for him.
  • Write Back to the Future: Frank sometimes hides items he wants to pass on to 2016!Raimy by hiding them in places in and around the Sullivan house, where she will unearth them 20 years later.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: No matter what changes are made to the timeline, Frank always dies sometime before 2016. He's killed in a car crash in 2011 in all the alternate timelines his and Raimy's changes create.
    • Keep in mind, that may not stick; remember, the film ended with Frank living to the present day.
    • On a smaller scale, the episode "Seven Three" plays with this trope. In the original timeline, a drug dealer was shot dead in 2008, during Raimy's first patrol. In the alternate timeline, he was arrested by Raimy and her dad in 2008 during that patrol...but in 2016, once he's released from prison, he ends up getting killed in an identical fashion to the original timeline. It turns out that in both timelines, the same people were responsible.
    • And in general, Daniel can't seem to take his mind off Raimy. Raimy later tells Frank that she's confident that no matter the timeline, she's likely to end up with him somehow.
    • Completely averted in the epilogue as Raimy and Frank are able to prevent his death in 2011 and he is alive in 2016

Alternative Title(s): Frequency