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Series / Ghost Whisperer

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Like the Ghostbusters, only hot.

"My name is Melinda Gordon. I just got married. I just moved to a small town. I just opened an antique shop. I might be just like you. Except from the time I was a little girl I knew I could talk to the dead. Earthbound spirits my grandmother called them. The ones who have not crossed over because they have unfinished business with the living and they come to me for help. To tell you my story, I have to tell you theirs."
Melinda Gordon, Ghost Whisperer, First Season Opening Narration

Ghost Whisperer is an American TV show that ran from 2005 through 2010. It's also known as that show where Jennifer Love Hewitt traipses around in vintage clothing, often low-cut. The episodes follow a formula: Ghost makes its presence known, Melinda flutters about trying to help, Melinda helps the ghost with its business, everyone cries, ghost goes into The Light. The few instances where that doesn't happen involves the ancient spirits that inhabit Grandview, Melinda's town, and some prophecy involving Melinda and her abilities.

Notable Characters are:

  • Melinda Gordon: Main character, co-owner of an antique shop and seer of ghosts. She inherited the ability from her grandmother, and it caused her many problems both inside her house (with her in-denial mother) and outside when her gift emerged. She's a firm believer in The Light, a.k.a. Heaven, and that her task in life is to help ghosts move into The Light. As of now, she's the centerpiece in some ancient prophecy... or something.
  • Jim Clancy: Melinda's husband and an EMT, Jim knows about his wife's abilities and supports her in her self-chosen task, often using his ties at the police station and the hospital to help her in her mission. In the fourth season, Jim is shot and dies, but his spirit inhabits the body of a man named Sam, albeit with amnesia. As of now, he's back and marrying Melinda again.
  • Eli James: Appearing in the fourth season, Eli had a near-death experience that allows him to hear, but not see, ghosts. Since then he's become involved with Melinda's ghost-helping operation, and she usually dictates research and other tasks to him when she's otherwise busy. A professor of Psychology at Grandview University, he fills the quirky academic role after the prior character, Rick Payne, left on a retreat. (Payne's actor left to star in his own show.)
  • Delia Banks: Melinda's co-owner of the antique shop and new best friend and confidant, following the Season One death of Andrea, the former Best Friend. Delia also works in real estate, and sometimes brings matters to Melinda's attention through the houses she deals with. Initially Delia didn't know about Melinda's gift and remains skeptical and a little fearful of the idea of ghosts. She is fiercely protective of her loved ones, and Melinda can count on Delia in situations both ordinary and supernatural.
  • Ned Banks: Delia's son, Ned initially appears as a stereotypical troubled adolescent, who has some ability to see ghosts. He's notable for the ability to get Melinda into cases through the other teenagers at school.

The show contains quirky side-characters you'll want to see more of, and a main character who you'll occasionally get sick of.

Season One: We meet Melinda Gordon and her freakish ghost-seeing ability, as well as her supportive husband and her friend Andrea (the friend eventually dies in a plane crash).

Season Two: Delia and Rick are introduced, eventually becoming part of Melinda's ghost-hunting posse (the latter more easily than the former). Also introduced are Ned and a plot-arc involving Melinda's also-ghost-seeing brother we're just learning about now.

Season Three: More ghost-hunting, a not-so-coherent explanation about Melinda's brother, and unraveling of Melinda's family secrets. Her relationship with her mother is repaired, and we find out the truth about her real father.

Season Four: Payne leaves, Eli arrives, and Jim gets shot dead, but not for long. He returns with amnesia, goes on a quest to re-discover 'his' life, and winds up staying in Grandview with Melinda. This, of course, leads to love. Sam remembers who he really is, Melinda is pregnant with Jim's child, and they get married. Well, remarried, really.

Season Five: Time Skip forward five years and we meet Melinda's son Aiden, who has a few more spiritual powers than Melinda, according to the sagely Watchers. Of note is the ability to see "The Shinies and the Shadows", mysterious beings that respectively help and prey on ghosts, particularly ghost children, and since Aiden can see them he's especially vulnerable. The Shadows have been manipulating things in Grandview to get their hands on the Book of Changes. Sadly, also the final season.

This show provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Hospital: There's an abandoned polio ward in the basement of the hospital where Jim works. Unsurprisingly, it's full of ghosts.
  • Aborted Arc: Ghost Whisperer is somewhat notorious for this.
    • What happened to that mysterious man in the hat who was gathering souls (including Andrea's) back in Season One?
    • The show has conveniently forgotten about Melinda's long lost half-brother (and Evil Ghost Whisperer) Gabriel from season 2, as well as the haunted ruins of Old Grandview that are situated beneath New Granview, not to mention any number of Delia's revolving temporary love interests.
    • The "fragment" of the teen heart transplant patient; presumably The Shadows absorbed him/it.
    • At least Romano (aka The Man in the Hat) did something before vanishing. Laughing Man, who seems to have been in league with him, was just kind of there for a few episodes. He made a very creepy first impression, and... well, that was it. It's not a large stretch to guess that the writers were making it up as they went along.
  • Actor Allusion/Celebrity Paradox: In one episode, Melinda and Ned plan to watch I Know What You Did Last Summer. But they don't becase a ghost begins stalking them.
  • A Day in the Limelight: In "The Woman of His Dreams" Jim has to deal with a ghost on his own while Melinda is visiting her mother.
  • Afterlife Angst: Happens a lot on the show in general, since many of the ghosts either don't know they are dead or regret the way they died.
    • In the Season 1 finale, after the plane crashes in town, Melinda tries to tell Andrea something and Andrea, dreading that it's news that her missing brother died in the crash, refuses to hear it. Her brother finally shows up, alive... and walks straight past Andrea to hug Melinda. As Andrea realizes she was the one who died in the crash, she breaks down crying and for a split second, Andrea wished she was alive instead of her brother.
      Andrea: This can't be happening. I'm falling in love with a poet. It's my brother's birthday.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The ending theme for the Japanese version is a song by Yuji Ono and Lupintic Five. The ending theme for the second season is "Strongly Strongly" by AZU. The ending theme for the third season is "Snowy Town" by Aimer
  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    • Melinda doesn't believe in the urban legend of Bloody Mary despite the fact that she can talk to ghosts. Jim suggests that she doesn't want to believe in the myth because it implies there is more to the spirit world Melinda still does not know and that thought frightens her.
    • Jim lost his memory, but still knows that there's no such thing as ghosts. Even though he's known about ghosts for years.
  • The Atoner: The Ripped from the Headlines ghost became a Watcher and the Bedlam House ghost helps Melinda aid another "step-in" and helps Sam/Jim find Melinda which causes him a near death experience that brings back Jim's memories.
  • Backstory: Melinda's First Ghost explains her first ghost sighting and how she and her family dealt with her inheriting her family's ghost-seeing abilities.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In "The Collector", Melinda returns to the local funeral parlor after seeing what appears to be another ghost whisperer in town. He talks to the mortician, who knows the man and has talked with him himself. It is then revealed that the mortician is a ghost who chose to stay, and is very disappointed with his replacement at the parlor.
  • Beauty Inversion: Jamie Bamber in zombie makeup.
  • Bedlam House: One is being turned into a school, and a few lingering ghosts cause trouble the most troublesome being their doctor, who caused the insane patients to become suicidal in the first place by already being dead and influencing their thoughts while they underwent shock therapy.
  • Big Bad: Romano aka The Man in the Hat in the first season. He caused the plane crash as well as other past mass disasters in-series as to gain more ghosts and grow his (literal) death cult.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Andrea and Delia.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: In the Season 1 finale, Andrea spends the whole episode worried that her brother Mitch was on a plane that recently crashed. It isn't until later that we see that he's fine and got on a later flight. Andrea, however… wasn't as lucky, as the plane had crashed onto her car as she was driving into the city in an attempt to reach his apartment. Worst of all, Mitch found out that his sister is dead on his birthday.
  • Blessed with Suck: Melinda's mother also inherited the ability to see and hear ghosts, but she hated it.
  • Body Snatcher: Thrice: A teenage ghost inhabits a recently dead man's body, and the body's ghost isn't too pleased; Jim steals Sam's body after the latter dies. Sam had already gone into the light, so it's okay with him. Also, the Bedlam House ghost was deliberately driving "his" patients to suicide in order to study step-ins and become one himself, minus the whole going-crazy-due-to-losing-two-sets-of-memories thing, and points them to his latest "experiment".
  • Book Ends: The end of Season One has a two part finale. The first part ends with a horde of newly dead spirits walking towards Melinda, led by a member of the plane crew. One of the last scenes in the second part is almost all of the horde walking into the Light, led by the plane's captain.
  • Brought Down to Normal:
    • Melinda after a car accident in "Vanishing". Subverted at the end of the episode, when it's revealed that she has not lost her ability to see ghosts, but that something is "sucking" them.
    • In the series finale The Shadows trick Melinda into thinking that suppressing Aiden's gift will get The Shadows to leave him alone, and it appears to be working. Actually he's already figured out that losing his gift would be a bad idea and was just pretending to make his parents happy while The Shineys put in extra time; unfortunately it still had a bad effect on Melinda...
  • Bury Your Gays: Eli's deceased mother was having an affair with another woman and died while trying to cover it up. This was revealed when her husband also died and both (it seemed) began haunting the other couple: he mistakenly trying to expose the husband while she was warning the wife to keep quiet.
  • By the Hair: Melinda has to wash her hair in the sink in "The Last Execution" and a ghost causes it to get stuck in the garbage disposal - forcing Jim to cut it to free her.
  • Celebrity Paradox: I Know What You Did Last Summer, which Jennifer Love-Hewitt famously starred in, is referenced twice on the show.
  • Chain-Link Fence: Done with a corpse in "The Walk In". He climbs the fence, drops over the other side, and lands with his leg in a squicky position. He then proceeds to re-set the leg and run off. Definitely breaking some fundamental laws of physics and biology there...
  • Cheerful Funeral: At Jim's funeral, halfway through his eulogy his friend Tim states that this solemn, sad mood was not how Jim wanted his life to be represented, so he starts playing one of Jim's favorite, upbeat songs, which gets everyone in the room dancing.
  • Contrasting Replacement Character:
    • Delia is this to Andrea as Melinda's new Muggle Best Friend. While Andrea believed Melinda could see and talk to ghosts, Delia is a skeptic from the beginning and accuses Melinda of being insane when she claims to have talked to the ghost of Delia's dead husband. Even after seeing more evidence of the existence of ghosts, Delia's skepticism takes some time to truly go away and her friendship with Melinda faces considerably more conflict due to the stress and trauma that comes from dealing with ghosts.
    • Eli James takes Rick Payne's place as Melinda's college professor friend after Rick's departure in the season 4 premiere. While Rick studied the occult for a living, Eli had no knowledge on the existence of ghosts until a near-death experience gave him the ability to hear (but not see) ghosts. While Rick was often giddy and excited whenever he encountered any proof of the paranormal, Eli is notably more frustrated and frightened as expected of someone dragged into a strange and terrifying new world he never knew of.
  • Creepy Child:
    • The Littlest Cancer Patient who unleashed a demon.
    • Aiden, Melinda's son, is alive but still pretty creepy at times.
    • The ghost kids with polio in the final episode, due to their horrifying masks.
    • Emily from "Drowned Lives" slips into this early on, showing up with Glowing Eyes of Doom and a Voice of the Legion to yell at people for almost "waking up her mom" (who she believes is taking a nap, due to her having been doing so the day Emily died). She rapidly becomes The Woobie.
  • Cut Apart: In "The Cradle Will Rock", when Melinda doesn't return from delivering a ghostly message, Jim goes to check up on her. Melinda's captor sees the lights of an approaching car, and Jim gets out of his car. Jim knocks on the front door, and the captor looks out the front door. But the man opens the door on the ghost's widow, and Jim is greeted by an elderly man. The address Jim got from the antique shop was out of date.
  • Dead All Along: Some of the ghosts have to be convinced that they are dead like Andrea after a plane fell on her. The one haunting the fugitive family didn't realize *when* he died, and had been haunting the family because he thought the father had left him to die. An immediate example is Melinda's grandmother in a flashback. Melinda arrives at the hospital after hearing that she had a bad night but her grandmother appears fine and talks to her - until Melinda realises that she's now a ghost.
  • Death of a Child:
    • Kenny from “The Crossing” was run over by a train. His family bought a bad car that broke down in the middle of the train tracks. His mother got out with his sister, but Kenny went back into the car to get a toy.
    • Daniel from “Demon Child” was contantly ignored by his workholic mother. One day, when she forgets a promise to take him to a baseball game, Daniel snaps and gets into the car to drive himself to the game. Of course, being only thirteen, he gets into an accident that kills him. And that’s not even the worst part. The worst part is his last words, which are to his nanny—“I wish you were my mother.”
  • Digital Avatar: When Melinda enters a ghost-infected MMORPG (similar to Second Life), her avatar has a blonde bob and Lady Gaga sunglasses.
  • Dye or Die: Stacy in "Friendly Neighbourhood Ghost" is said to have done this in the past after faking her own death. Now years later when she no longer has to worry about being found, her natural blonde hair has grown out.
  • Eye Scream: "Sally Stitch" causes Melinda to dream that her eyes and mouth are stitched up.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Becoming a "step-in". You get a second chance at life but you also get double-Victory-Guided Amnesia since your mind/soul is hinting at one thing while the friends and family of your body (if any) are saying another. According to the bedlam house ghost a majority of step-ins go insane and kill themselves, the exceptions being one he led Melinda to and Jim, who had Melinda's support and later regained his memory after a near-death experience.
  • Fanservice: Maybe the low cut blouses help Melinda channel her spiritual energy? The early seasons bent over backwards to slip fanservice into each episode, even to the point of Melinda wearing a spaghetti top whilst serving dinner to a traditionalist Hispanic family. Later on, they backed off on this.
  • Flash Forward: The 2009 fall season flashed forward about five years.
  • Foreshadowing: The many death omens before Jim's death. Possibly the mysterious light-people/spirits at Jim and Melinda's second wedding, who are implied to be "The Shineys".
  • Girl of the Week: Ned started gaining a number of one-off love interests after entering college; the episode with the fugitive family had multiple characters lampshading the fact that many of his girlfriends/crushes turned out to be haunted.
  • Ghostly Death Reveal:
    • "Ghost, Interrupted" features a flashback to a younger Melinda visiting her grandmother, who has the same gift as she does, in a nursing home. When Melinda asks her how she knows the difference between a ghost and a live person, Mary Ann says she'll be able to feel what a ghost is feeling when she looks at one. Melinda then realizes she can feel what her grandmother is feeling, and runs to her grandmother's room to find her dead.
    • The two-part season one finale has a plane crashing in Grandview. The audience is at first led to believe that one of the victims of the crash is Andrea's brother, but it turns out Andrea herself died in the crash. The Season 2 premiere is her final appearance on the show.
  • Grim Reaper: One of them appeared in the hospital to "reap" a dying infant, but they don't seem to have appeared since.
  • Hellish Pupils: The Insomniac Victim of the Week sees goat-eyed "demons" as part of his delusions.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Do Over. In a hospital, no less. The victim stumbled around a bit before keeling over, and the narration informed us that he "died in seconds."
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Jim to Melinda, although it's not that hard considering she's like five-nothing.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal:
    • Coupled with "I Just Want My Daughter To Be Normal" in Melinda's mother's case. Melinda was very relieved when the Watchers said that her unborn child would not have her powers, and then panicked a bit when they added "He'll be more powerful than you".
    • Melinda's mother is this, having tried to suppress her powers for decades, resulting in frequent migraines.
    • In "The Gravesitter", Melinda discovers people have been talking about her online and fears that she and her gift will be exposed. Because up until this point, she's been extremely subtle about the whole I See Dead People thing?
  • Identity Amnesia: The two step-ins (the earlier corpse-jacker doesn't count because the body's ghost was still around and the corpse was too decomposed for a resurrection). Contrary to the usual amnesia tropes they don't get better from a smack to the head: the "stalker" had to talk to Melinda (who had only learned about the concept the episode before) while Jim/Sam had to have a near-death experience.
  • The Insomniac: A man appears to have fatal familial insomnia. Actually it's his dead dad and sister who had it, and they're so paranoid that their son/brother could have it they're driving him to suicide before he kills someone like the dad did.
  • I See Dead People: You know, the entire point of the show. Eli can only hear them.
  • Invincible Hero: Of a sort. No matter how bad the main case seems to be - someone killed someone's husband, husband and wife hate each other after cheating and competition, someone's... really annoyed that her parents got divorced - by the end everyone's happy and snugly and A-OK. Even if someone has done something seriously wrong (burning down a building, faking vampiric possession). Especially in those cases.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: They get better once they make peace with themselves.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The president of the university that Eli works at had been purposefully stonewalling him so he would leave and not catch the eye of The Shadows, who had been advancing his (the president's) career so he could control the Book of Shadows, which wound up in the hands of Eli and Melinda and now The Shadows are pissed. He also has a comatose mother whom he often visits, and it's implied that the Shadows might have something to do with it.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Melinda talks to a few already deceased ones. There's a subversion in the last episode- the ghost kid died of Hodgkin's disease, but it isn't dwelt on and he doesn't actually seem to care that he's dead.
  • Mirror Monster: "Don't Try This At Home" deals with a ghost that has the ability to move through reflective surfaces and has put three college girls into comas, one of whom has died. It is believed that the spirit is the ghost of Bloody Mary but it turns out to be the ghost of the one of the girls who died. Her cause of death was her friend playing a prank on her which caused her weak heart to give out and she is haunting the other three as revenge.
  • Monster Clown: A creepy ghost in a clown costume shows up. He's actually a private investigator who fell in love with the woman he was trying to find for her ex-boyfriend, and disguised himself as a clown so he could be at her soon-to-be stepdaughter's party. Evil shadows, angry and psychotic ghosts, and conspiracies don't phase Melinda, but clowns creep her the hell out.
  • Ms. Fanservice: For every genuine fan of the show, you'll find one even more ardent fan of Jennifer Love Hewitt's... *ahem*
  • Naked People Are Funny: One unfortunate ghost experiences the downside of Jacob Marley Apparel—you die naked, you stay naked. To add insult to injury, turns out he was a soldier... and his rank was private.
  • No Name Given: Romano was for many episodes just "The Man in the Hat", and his apparent second hand is still just "The Laughing Man".
  • Once per Episode: Melinda cries in pretty much every episode, whether due to happiness or connecting emotionally to the ghost or their families, from season 4 or so onwards.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Apparently animals can also leave ghosts (Homer the Ghost Dog from Lost Boys to Vanishing, the cat in Bad Blood) but they aren't allowed to Go into the Light. So what's up? Didn't they say that All Dogs Go to Heaven?
  • Our Souls Are Different: Recently the idea of "broken" spirits has emerged: Apparently with some people, most of their spirit goes into The Light but a piece of them goes into "the shadows". The first example of this was A father who framed his daughter's boyfriend for stealing, indirectly leading to his death when he fled. The dead boyfriend began haunting the father who developed Alzheimer's disease, and when he died most of him went into The Light (which kind of annoyed the boyfriend's ghost) while the presumably guilty bit of his soul went into the shadows.
  • Phony Psychic:
    • Melinda often gets accused of this by the loved ones of the ghosts she is trying to help. They tend to come around after some time.
    • In "Unhappy Medium", Melinda meets an actual Phony Psychic in the form of Casey Edgars. The two have an argument over the ethical nature of Edgars's actions while trying to solve the disappearance of a young girl.
  • Plot Hole: Jim's hospital co-workers in the final season refer to him as Jim, when they should know him as Sam.
    • Explanation: Seeing as how Jim's more used to his name, and he even introduces himself to a patient as Jim in Season 5, he tells everyone to call him Jim instead. Also, The Other Wiki states that at some point in between Seasons 4 and 5 that he added the "James" part of his name to Sam's as a middle name to justify this, and on the show his doctor's coat has his name embroidered as "J. Lucas".
  • Posthumous Character: The ghosts, obviously.
  • Record Needle Scratch: During a romantic moment when Melinda and Jim realize that the ghost haunting the hospital morgue hadn't been accounted for because the person they thought was the ghost was still alive.
  • Refusal of the Call: Melinda's mother has the gift but doesn't use it, which causes her frequent migraines.
  • Religion of Evil: Romano's original occupation and how he gained a cult following before and after death.
  • Rescue Romance: Jim and Melinda met when he rescued her from her burning apartment complex.
  • The Reveal: The Shinys are children who have gone into the light and are also the only beings that can combat The Shadows, hence why The Shadows are so interested in ghost children. They also vastly outnumber The Shadows, but apparently didn't realize it because The Shadows are effin' scary and they're still children despite being the Big Good.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: An episode where the ghosts were very embarrassed about their bodies being dumped in a pond is reminiscent to the Tri-State Crematory scandal, where bodies were dumped in the undergrowth instead of cremated.
  • Screamer Trailer: Ghosts that prefer to "show" instead of to talk can be quite the Jerkasses.
  • Screw Destiny: When the person who told you your destiny is telling you to screw it, things must be getting pretty bad: the Watcher tells Melinda to lie to Aiden and tell him that seeing ghosts was just his imagination; when he starts believing that he'll stop seeing ghosts (and Shineys and Shadows) and The Shadows will leave him alone. Melinda is torn between her son's gift and his safety, Jim is less torn about keeping Aiden safe, and it turned out that The Shadows were manipulating The Watcher in the first place.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Twilight: A family is extremely wary of outsiders. The son is tall, pale, with foofy hair and is shown being extremely hostile to his girlfriend in order to protect her; also, they're presumably vegetarians since they're fugitive environmentalists, but they settle down at the end.
    • The preview of one show features Unnaturally Blue Lighting on people with glowing yellow eyes.
    • The antique shop's "Same As It Never Was" name paraphrases a Talking Heads song.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Melinda and Jim.
  • A Side Order of Romance: In one episode, The Woobie of The Week’s wife is accused of being a Gold Digger by his rich and famous family because she was his diner waitress when they met. It didn’t help suspicion that they got married fast, and that he fell into a coma shortly after she took him to an alternate medicine clinic to treat his ALS. Even worse, she wanted to pull the plug on him, which only worsened her image and seemed to confirm ulterior motives. It turns out, they got married fast because they knew their time was limited because of his disease. What’s more, his coma wasn’t her fault at all. His mother gave him muscle relaxant pills during a seizure, not knowing the doctors had taken him off that certain brand. They interacted with his anti-depressants and sent him into a coma. Turns out, the ghost really did want them to pull the plug, and his wife knew it because he told her himself.
  • Signature Headgear: The dark ghost Romano is never seen without his fedora.
  • The Soulsaver: Melinda and her friends help ghosts go to the other side or into the light.
  • Space Whale Aesop: One episode dealing with euthanasia could be interpreted that euthanasia should be legal so that Melinda can talk to their ghosts.
  • Spiritual Successor: The show is essentially The Sixth Sense, except the protagonist has assets this time around.
  • Stalker with a Crush:
    • Several lovelorn ghosts, but a living version is the maître 'd who had a secret crush on Delia and wanted to make up for ruining her dinner for the umpteenth time (he gets Dr. Tofu syndrome around her).
    • There was an entire episode based on this trope. A lawyer was stalking a ghost when she was alive, to the point where she died trying to run away. He then goes after Melinda, but she manages to get him locked away. But he kills himself so he can always be with her. But then he gets sucked away into the shadows, presumably.
  • Stand-In Parents: The children pretended to be their own mother after she had died, for fear of social services splitting them up on finding out they had no parent or guardian.
  • Survivor's Guilt: The episode “Haunted Hero” involves an Iraq war army veteran haunted by ghosts of his troop when he gets home, due to being the only solider of his team to survive and the threat of a leaked military video of him abandoning his team in a vehicle during a mission being sent to the media. The ghosts are haunting him because he feels guilty for surviving what was to be a suicide mission driving into enemy territory so his team could move forward, only to witness them getting killed by a hidden landmine right after saving him, and they can’t move on until they tell him he shouldn't blame himself for their deaths nor surviving.
    • Another episode “Lost Boys” has the ghosts of three orphan boys that died in a fire at an old house that was once an orphanage. Turns out there was a fourth orphan boy who was able to escape that fateful night, but the now elderly man misses but fears revisiting the house, haunted by the memories of being the only one of his friends to come out alive.
  • Time Skip: The latest season jumps ahead 5 years in order to allow Aiden to grow up. It was probably a practical device to prevent having to deal with a baby on the set, or in the storyline. In short, the viewers wanted Melinda and Jim to have a baby, and the writers put it off, even with the ridiculous season of Jim-is-Sam, as long as they could. When they finally capitulated, they wrote in the five-year time leap, and cast an eight-year-old to play Melinda's five-year-old son. Thus, all the mess of dolls that don't look natural, hiring multiple babies to play the baby in 20 minutes stints (which is all a baby or toddler can work in a day in Hollywood), casting twins as an older Aiden, hiring coaches to teach them their lines, and soforth, was avoided. Jennifer Love Hewitt is on-camera in very nearly every scene on the show, so having the baby someplace would have been awkward, and having her cart a doll everywhere in a Baby Bjorn would have been worse. A child old enough to be on the set for eight hours a day (Connor Gibbs was 8 in 2009), and old enough to read and study his own lines was hired. Sometimes he came off as unnaturally precocious, but that fit his character.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Andrea, both Black and Hispanic.
  • Undeath Always Ends: Sometimes averted, as not every spirit chooses to cross over like one of the ghosts on the cruise ship (she died of terminal cancer while on a last vacation and is making the most of her "afterlife") while others are atoning for something and become Watchers.
  • Unfinished Business: The whole premise of why the ghosts are still Earthbound and what Melinda needs to help them with to cross over.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Melinda has way too many fancy clothes for a mere antique/boutique shop owner. Showing just how unrealistic it is, the show stopped doing it when it became too expensive for them. We can just assume that she has either a lot of money from her family or she just found very respectable knock-offs.
  • Unseen Pen Pal: "Ghost in the Machine" centers around a virtual game world, where the Ghost of the Week has manifested as an avatar named Phoenix, who speaks mostly to a teenage girl named Alise Jones, alias Sedona. While Melinda initially suspects Phoenix is a predator, he turns out to be Alise's estranged father who created the avatar to stay in touch with her after a messy divorce, and died while playing. However, Alise's other online friend, Cal, turns out to be the real predator, who Melinda and Phoenix have to stop. There is also much discussion in the episode around whether the anonymity of online interaction is freeing or dangerous for users.
  • The Watcher: The, uh, Watchers. Ghosts who stay despite having finished business in order to watch over the living and other spirits. The majority of these appear to be Atoners.
  • Voice of the Legion: Some ghosts may speak this way.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • So, uh, what's become of the late president of Rockland U. now that The Shineys can defeat The Shadows?
    • What happened to the ghost dog?
  • Woobie of the Week: More like "Distressed ghost who refuses to pass on" of the Week