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Series / Get Shorty

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Get Shorty is a drama series on the ePix channel inspired by the Elmore Leonard novel of the same name. Created by Davey Holmes, it stars Chris O'Dowd and Ray Romano as a Nevada gangster and schlock movie producer trying to get movies made with cartel money. Like the original novel and the film adaptation, it focuses on the intersection of ruthless gangster tactics and Hollywood culture.

The show has aired three seasons so far.



  • Adaptation Inspiration: Unlike the film, the series is only inspired by the source material. It features an original story and characters.
  • Affably Evil: Our antiheroes Miles and Louis are very friendly guys, but don't hesitate to threaten, pummel and even murder people who get in their way, though they'd rather not.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Amara rules her gang with an iron fist but even she has to answer to The Cartel. When a drug shipment is intercepted by the police, the cartel has her cover all the losses out of her own pocket and ignores any protests from her. Ironically, this saves her from arrest by the FBI, who decline to prosecute her on money laundering charges because they are hoping that they can use her to get evidence against more senior cartel members.
  • Anti-Hero: Miles, the protagonist, is a gangster and murderer, but also a pretty decent guy for all of that.
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  • Artifact Title: Subverted: the original novel and film's titles reference the struggle to get a short actor on board for the film. On the show, "Shorty" is Miles's nickname for his daughter Emma, and while his trying to "get" her back in his life is not the main conflict of the Hollywood section of the show, it is certainly what drives him to do the things he does.
  • Best Served Cold: Lawrence screws over Miles and even takes away his producer credit on the Wylderness. Miles can't do much about it because he is in prison but he has two years behind bars to figure out how to best get back at Lawrence.
  • Black Comedy: Much of the humour of the show consists of this; best exemplified by the series' initiating event of Louis suddenly shooting Owen dead before he can finish telling Miles about his script.
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  • Blackmail: Miles uses blackmail to get a lot of stuff done in Hollywood.
  • Blackface: Miles and Louis discover an old picture of April dressed in blackface and use it to blackmail her, saying that it would end her career. April implies that it was a Halloween costume of Oprah.
  • Black Widow: Amara. A fair chunk of the murders tied to her are former lovers... and there are a lot of them.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the very last shot of the second season, Mile is watching Wylderness with an ambiguous expression, then his eyes snap directly into the camera.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer:
    • Hafdis Snaejornsson looks and lives like a hobo and drives his car into a hotel pool, causing him to have to video-conference from jail during pre-production, but he's a very respected director.
    • FBI Agent Clara Dillard is revealed to have a few strange habits. She watches news in Arabic while only saying "Sure" if asked whether she actually speaks the language. She also ends a meeting to take a micronap on her couch.
  • The Bus Came Back: After disappearing under mysterious circumstances in Season 2, the Banana Girl bumps into Rick in a forest in Northern California. Rather than being murdered by a jealous Amara, she dropped out over a rent dispute and joined a cult.
  • But I Can't Be Pregnant!: Played for laughs as Louis (who, as a Mormon, can't have pre-marital sex) is stunned his girlfriend relates she's expecting. While she had assumed health reasons meant it couldn't happen, Louis can't believe it because, as he contends, they never really had sex. As it happens, Louis was practicing what he calls "flowing" where "you just stick it in and don't move it." Miles can only stare at his friend's complete lack of understanding that still counts as actual intercourse.
  • Call-Back: April makes a crack about Lawrence Budd's wig flying off in the wind. When we later see Lawrence getting on board a helicopter, he slaps a hand on top of his head, clearly to prevent his wig from flying off.
  • The Cameo:
    • Peter Bogdanovich plays a very small role as Rick's father.
    • Alan Arkin has one scene as a decrepit director courted by Rick. Arkin's son Adam directed the episode as well as many others.
  • Character Tic: Miles sticks his religious necklace under his shirt before he does anything he's going to feel guilty about.
  • Celeb Crush: Amara seems to have one on John Stamos.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The phony signed headshot of John Stamos ends up saving Miles's life.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Amara's goons torture a few people for information, including Miles when they believe he has betrayed them.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Nathan is a bubbly moron, but he turns out to be a surprisingly good actor.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Emma likes a boy who got involved in a botched drug deal and is now terrified that a vicious street gang will decide that He Knows Too Much. Miles agrees to help and is able to get the gangsters to leave the kid alone. He then goes to the boy's parents and tells them the whole story. The parents are furious and pull the boy out of school. Emma considers this the worst kind of betrayal. Miles was not happy doing this but he realizes that the boy was Too Dumb to Live, would soon get himself into trouble again and Emma might get hurt or killed as collateral damage.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Yago leaves an interrogation to do this, of all settings.
  • The Dragon: Amara's right-hand man Ed is a perfect example. Imposing, stoic, loyal, and very good at his job. He's rarely seen away from Amara's side, and obeys her orders without question. Iago thinks he's this, but everyone knows that he's only where he is because of his relationship with Amara.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Amara, to everyone that knows her. Somewhat Deconstructed in that she has a harder time in the legitimate movie world, because people don't know her, and thus have no reason to listen to her blunt demands.
    • The Los Angeles cartel. Amara is a small fry compared to them.
  • Drink-Based Characterization: As a practicing Mormon, Louis has a ginger ale when others are drinking alcohol. He eventually admits that he's come to hate it. It's just less awkward to have a beverage in hand while others are drinking.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Again, "evil" is pushing it, but Miles genuinely wants to better himself for the sake of his daughter and wife. To a lesser extend, Amara lets her nephew Yago get away with shit that would get any other member of her crew killed.
    • Amara's relationship with Rick blossoms into actual love.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Amara, the mob boss Louis and Miles work for. She almost always affects a cool and polite personality even when she's planning on killing you.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: In season two, Miles and Yago are forced to work together and then to become close allies.
  • Freud Was Right: Rick is instantly attracted to the Banana Girl, who dips phallic bananas seductively into various toppings.
  • Gone Horribly Right:
    • Miles works really hard to get The Admiral's Daughter produced, but with every success comes a new set of problems. A director famous for his unique artistic vision wants to direct the movie, which brings additional funding and interest in the movie. However, when the movie is finished, everyone realizes that the "artistic vision" turned the movie into a unwatchable mess. Miles has to recut the movie into something that can be shown to a normal audience.
    • The later part of season three has Miles achieve all he has been scheming for but it leaves him as a big target for both criminals and law enforcement. It also means that he once again has to lie to his loved ones.
    • Miles' plot to destroy Lawrence Budd and seize control of his company works like a charm, but in the process he severely damages the company, to the point that it teeters on going under.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Literally with Louis which reaches its height when he shoots Tyler, the star of the movie in the head, not grasping the lasting effects of this move.
  • Hollywood Healing:
    • Miles recovers very quickly from getting shot in the abdomen. Two days later, he's punching and kicking people without difficulty.
    • In the second season, Rick gets shot in the shoulder and receives medical attention. A few episodes later, implied to not be more than a few weeks, he's in the hot tub without even a scar on his shoulder.
  • Iron Lady:
    • Samara, a female cartel boss who has to be twice as tough to get the same respect.
    • Lila, the representative of the LA cartel, behaves like an aloof businesswoman even when dealing with international drug trade.
  • It's All About Me: Movie star Tyler Mathis doesn't seem to care about anything but his own ego. He causes chaos by insisting on rewrites of a movie mid-production because the love interest doesn't submit to his advances until the end of the film, which he thinks implies that he's not handsome enough. He also uses Nathan as a sounding board for his insecurities while passive-aggressively refusing to reciprocate and listen to Nathan's issues.
  • Lethally Stupid: In season three Rick writes a screenplay about everything that happened to him. He tries to be honest in his writing so he barely hides who the characters are based on and what they did. If Amara or someone from the cartel read the script they would have found out what really happened and Rick, Miles and Louis would be killed for it.
  • Loan Shark: Miles and Louis are collectors for a particularly ruthless one, in addition to being "disposal" when their collections aren't possible.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: When Rick and Miles both go to prison, Rick's minimum-security prison is juxtaposed humorously with Mile's more intense prison. Instead of arriving in chains to a hooting tableau of inmates, Rick just walks up to the door and rings the bell, announcing, "I'm here to go to prison." His "cell" looks like a Motel 6, and his new bunkmate offers him home-baked cookies. Later, we see Rick enjoying a casual game of badminton on a lush green lawn, directing a play, and oil painting. When he's served his term, he openly states that he doesn't want to leave.
  • Meaningful Name: Yago is a variant spelling of "Iago." Like the most famous Iago, Yago is treacherous and not to be trusted. He gets some Character Development in the second season.
  • Minnesota Nice:
    • Tyler Mathis's M.O., especially around Nathan, is behaving as if he's a level-headed, laid-back guy while obsessing over his own ego and politely shaking off all of Nathan's attempts to talk about himself.
    • Lawrence the studio exec is always upbeat and very non-confrontational, preferring to leave a room rather than engage in any potentially charged conversations, but he's a ruthless producer who will screw people over behind their backs. Miles uses this to his advantage in Season 3, visiting him in his office to "make amends," counting on the fact that Lawrence won't stand up to him face-to-face.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: About half the series is about making a film, and revolves around actors, writers, producers, and other studio personnel. Something the writers of a tv series probably know plenty about.
  • Mugging the Monster: Track, an ex-con at Miles's half-way house thinks that Miles with his money laundering conviction is an easy mark. Track steals Miles's meditation crystals and extorts money from him under the threat of framing Miles for violating his parole. He obviously failed to research who Miles really is and who he is connected to.
    Miles: I hope nothing has happened to him. But I have this horrible feeling that he is not coming back.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution:
    • Seems to be the primary business model for Amara. If someone screws up, betrays her, or she even thinks they've done so, they're dead. Most of her employees are scared shitless of her for this reason.
    • Louis is quite trigger-happy and quick to move right to physical violence to get things done. Miles has to rein him back in Hollywood.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: When the Banana Girl disappears after going on two dates with Rick, he strongly suspects that Amara found out and had her killed.
  • Nepotism: The only reason Yago is Amara's lieutenant (and probably still alive, for that matter) is because he's her nephew. Amara states this pretty openly in the second season.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: April discovers that her boss Lawrence Budd has a one-way mirror in the women's bathroom so he can watch them using the toilet.
  • Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon: Louis heads to threaten movie star Max to go along with their plans with an enforcer showing a gun. The arrogant actor scoffs "I've spent all day working with prop weapons, I know the difference." It turns out he doesn't, clutching his ears after the enforcer fires a bullet into the couch to get the point across.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Rick undergoes a prolonged one when the FBI informs him that his mysterious, hard-negotiating lover-slash-"investor" is also a murder-happy Nevada crimelord who has had most if not all of her former lovers killed.
    • Pretty much Miles' and Louis' reaction whenever Amara shows up. For any reason.
  • Open Heart Dentistry: Katie, a nurse at a plastic surgeon's office, treats Miles' gunshot wound.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Miles and Louis are definitely presented as this, but the show doesn't gloss over the fact they are still criminals. Even on a good day they're not above intimidation and blackmail.
  • Papa Wolf: Katie recalls how Miles excused the family dog for biting him, but secretly killed it after it nipped his daughter. When the man in charge of Emma's acting class sends Emma home in tears, Miles does not react well.
  • Product Placement: Because he's a practicing Mormon, Louis has ginger ale when others drink alcohol. He's always seen drinking Canada Dry ginger ale, with the labels usually facing the camera. Ironically, in season two he admits that he's come to hate ginger ale.
  • Reality Ensues: Pushed by an Imagine Spot, Max tries to disarm a thug just like in all the action movies he's made. Even at his best, it's unlikely it'd have worked but considering Tyler is high at the time, it results in pathetically pushing the gun away which causes the guy to pull the trigger and shoot Max in the leg.
  • Red Right Hand: The ruthless film producer Lawrence Budd has alopecia universalis, making his entire body hairless, but he carefully conceals this fact by wearing wigs, fake eyebrows and even a merkin. Miles asks him, "Is everything about you fake?"
  • Revenge: One of the final scenes in the first season has Miles execute two of Yago's goons. Part of this seems to be to weaken Yago, but it's also obviously in vengeance for shooting him and Louis.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The Lawrence Budd sex scandal plot line began shortly after the Weinstein sex scandal broke.
  • Romantic False Lead: April has a stable and boring boyfriend in Season 3 who only seems interested in bicycling. April is torn between her relationship with him and her desire for the more exciting Miles.
  • Scary Black Man: Ed, Amara's right-hand-man, is a muscular, taciturn and intimidating crook.
  • Serious Business: The craft of film making is often juxtaposed with life-and-death drug criminality, with comic effect.
  • Sinister Shiv: Miles and Yago work in the prison workshop bagging plastic Oscar toys and are told that some prisoners sharpen them into shivs. Later, someone is shivved using a sharpened Oscar.
  • The Starscream: Zigzagged with Yago; often he's actually too cowardly to carry it out and goes back on his schemes, but he definitely fits the trope as he clearly aspires to usurp Amara's position.
  • Start of Darkness:
    • A Flash Back reveals that Amara was sold to a cartel boss and murdered him before he could exercise his Marital Rape License.
    • Implied in the flashback of Miles proposing to Katie. He was just a strip club bouncer at the time, but apparently made the transition to mob enforcer to support his new family.
  • Straight Gay: Movie star Tyler Mathis has no stereotypical gay mannerisms. It's treated as a twist that Nathan is his prostitute rather than his drug dealer.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: When Hector gets greedy and makes unreasonable demands from Miles, Miles goes up the chain to Hector's cartel bosses in Los Angeles and presents his case. They agree with Miles and force Hector to back down. Miles is warned that Hector could appeal to the main cartel bosses in Mexico and if they agree with him then Miles is screwed.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In the first season, Nathan Hill is a no-name actor who gets his big break on The Admiral's Mistress. In season 2, Nathan is never seen again outside of movie footage from the first season, but we're introduced to David Oumou, a no-name actor who got his big break in a supporting role on The Admiral's Mistress.
  • Tattooed Crook: There are a few, but most notably, Miles has a distinctive neck tattoo and a large crucifix on his arm that are always peaking out from his shirts.
  • Time Skip:
    • Several months pass between episodes 9 and 10, and episode 10 jumps one year midway through.
    • Season 3 starts about a year after the end of season 2 with Miles leaving prison.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: The courier service used by the studio is called "Easy Schlep." Schlep is a popular Yiddish word for hauling or carrying something.
  • You Have to Have Jews: None of the main characters are explicitly Jewish, but this trope is very subtly in effect. The "real actor" in Emma's class wears a yarmulke. The delivery service that the studio uses is called "Easy Schlep."

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