Follow TV Tropes


Series / Good Witch

Go To
"Knowing how to share your gifts with the world is as important as recognizing what gifts you have to share."

Cassie: Oh, thirteen gets such a bad reputation but it's actually been a very lucky number for me.
Sam: You have the magic touch!
Cassie: Some people say I do.
— "Over Again"

Good Witch is a pseudo-magical drama series that has been a staple of the Hallmark Channel from 2015 to 2021, lasting seven seasons and five two-hour specials. It follows the continuity of a series of Hallmark TV movies called The Good Witch that aired from 2008 to 2014.

Cassie Nightingale (played by Catherine Bell) is a very good-natured and helpful woman with mysterious intuitive powers, seemingly passed down to her through the Merriwick family line. She was an adventurer in the past, having traversed the globe and experienced just about every world culture and landmark that is worth seeing. Now she makes her home in the small town of Middleton, which is where the origin of the Merriwick family began. She runs the Grey House Bed and Breakfast, where she lives with her daughter Grace and Grace's grandfather George, who acts as the building's handyman. She is also the proprietor of a small shop in town called the Bell, Book and Candle. At the start of the series, Cassie has recently lost her husband Jake, who was Middleton's police chief before his passing.

The first episode also introduces Dr. Sam Radford, who has just moved to Middleton from New York City with his son Nick to be the town doctor and to get Nick away from a troublesome history in the big city. The Radfords move into the house next door to Grey House, and Sam and Cassie strike up an instant friendship despite their philosophical differences.

Other principal cast members include Stephanie Borden, the owner of the Bistro Cafe in town, Martha Tinsdale, the boisterous mayor of Middleton, and Abigail Pershing, Cassie's cousin and fellow possessor of Merriwick magic.

A rotating selection of semi-regulars have come and gone over the course of the series, such as Cassie's stepson Brandon and his wife Tara, Cassie's stepdaughter Lori, current chief of police Derek, real estate agent Ryan, Sam's receptionist Eve, Martha's husband Tom, Sam's ex-wife Linda, and various brief love interests for Cassie, Stephanie and Abigail.

Good Witch provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: In Season 2, there was some angst between Tara and Brandon due to a combination of Poor Communication Kills and Family Versus Career. It never really went anywhere and was quietly dropped after a few episodes of arguments.
  • The Ace: Sam is mentioned to have finished his medical degree in three years at the top of his class, was a top surgeon after that in a prestigious hospital, speaks some Latin, plays guitar, and claims that he almost never lost at poker (until he met Cassie, that is).
  • Alpha Bitch: Linda in series 1 and 2.
  • Ambiguous Situation: When exactly did Cassie figure out that Joy is a Merriwick? It seems to be between episodes 6x3 and 6x4, but it could very well have been earlier.
    • At the very end of the finale, Donovan and Abigail suddenly decide that their relationship is never going to come first, and the next scene implies that they've broken off the engagement. However, we never get a clear answer.
  • An Aesop: A constant one is that open, honest communication, even and especially with one's loved ones, is vital for making things work. No matter how much you love and think you know someone, you still need to be clear about your expectations and desires.
    • Even if you don't feel like you're in the wrong, sometimes it's worth it to apologize anyway.
  • And the Adventure Continues: In the series finale, Sam and Cassie go off to explore the world together for a bit, with Joy and George taking care of Grey House in the meantime.
  • The Anticipator: Cassie (and to a lesser extent Abigail), to pretty much everyone. It gets to the point where those in the know, such as Sam, Martha, and Stephanie, practically expect it.
  • Artistic License – Law: In 7x02, Sam hires a new doctor who (unknown to him until afterwards) happens to be the girlfriend of the hospital's chief administrator. That kind of thing is heavily frowned upon in real life, due to the fact that having one person in a position of power over the other can lead to very uncomfortable situations (plus there's the possibility of workplace tension if they break up). In real life, most likely the hospital's board would have forced either the administrator or her to leave.
  • Batman Gambit: Cassie is an absolute master at these (though she's always well-intentioned). Abigail's quite good as well, while Grace is an up-and-coming student.
    • Martha pulls one on her two interns, Grace and Luke, in 5x07 by assigning them to compete and see who can write the best history of her family. When they work together instead, she reveals that they passed, because it was actually meant to be a team-building exercise.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Derek Sanders serves as Martha's Number Two for most of the early seasons, having to play Only Sane Man and Sarcastic Devotee. He mostly takes it in stride, though.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Brandon to Lori and Grace, though this falls off in later seasons.
  • Blatant Lies: Cassie always "just happens" to have "forgotten" something or other, in order to send someone on an errand in order to Stealth Mentor them.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Stephanie's a blonde, Cassie's a brunette, and Abigail is (usually) a redhead.
    • In Seasons 6 and 7, we get Joy, who also serves as the Child to the other two.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: At the end of Season Two, Brandon and Tara argue about her contacting her birth mother. Brandon worries that she's just going to get hurt again, while she's insistent that she needs to understand why she left her.
  • Call-Back: In 5x12, George mentions that 13 has always been a lucky number for Cassie.
    • 7x02 has Abigail reference how she was nervous to reconnect with her birth father, but that things eventually worked out.
    • Way back to the very first episode: In 6x05, Stephanie's ex-husband shows up for the first time, after it was mentioned in the first story that she'd been divorced.
  • Can't Spit It Out: Abigail to Donovan at the end of Season 5. Literally, thanks to the curse.
  • The Casanova: Abigail, in a Rare Female Example, almost always has a man wrapped around her finger. Or, sometimes, two.
  • Character Development:
    • Nick comes to love Middleton and its small-town charm, also becoming more thoughtful and mature.
    • Though she was always more mature than Nick, Grace learns that even though one can have a lot of insight into someone's character, that doesn't always mean they'll welcome your advice.
    • Sam learns to accept magic and have faith in things he can't measure, as well as becoming a better father to Nick.
    • Martha becomes (somewhat) less pompous, and more willing to accept criticism.
    • Dottie Donovan becomes much kinder over time.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Lori was a semi-important character in Season 1, living at Grey House and often acting in the Big (Half) Sister role for Grace. Then in Season 2 she simply stopped appearing in any episodes (she's mentioned in 2x09 as being "on assignment in LA," whatever that means). In Season 5, it's briefly mentioned she is working abroad and can't attend Sam and Cassie's wedding, and that's the last mention we get of her.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Cassie and Abigail (and other Merriwicks) are masters at setting these up. Sometimes it's unconscious.
  • Cool Aunt: Abigail (once she's had a bit of Character Development) becomes this for Grace, and to a lesser extent Cassie's other kids.
  • Cuddle Bug: Grace always loves snuggling with her mom.
  • Demoted to Extra: Brandon and Tara fall out of focus in later seasons, only appearing in a few episodes in seasons 4 and 5 each, with Lori disappearing altogether after season 1.
    • Chief Sanders, at first Martha's Number Two, also falls victim to this.
    • Eve, Sam's receptionist/assistant at the doctor's office, slowly disappears as well. Like Sanders, she pretty much has disappeared entirely by Season 5.
  • Drink-Based Characterization: All the Merriwicks enjoy their tea. It's a minor bone of contention between Cassie and Sam, who Must Have Caffeine.
  • Easily Forgiven: Cassie never holds a grudge against people, no matter what.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Cassie, being mature, wise, and an accomplished mistress of the Batman Gambit.
  • Fish out of Water: Sam and Nick start the series having just moved from the giant city of New York to the tiny town of Middleton. Nick initially hates his new life and constantly asks to move back to New York.
  • Good All Along: In the fourth series' Halloween story, a strange man appears, seemingly connected to the ancient curse that's occurring. He wears dark clothing and makes some ominous pronouncements, as well as having a gift for the Stealth Hi/Bye that nearly rivals Cassie's. It turns out he's just a journalist investigating the curse, and is actually a fairly nice guy.
    • Series 6 introduces Joy Harper, a young woman staying at Grey House who's very interested in the Merriwicks. As it turns out, it's because she is one.
  • Good Parents: Cassie is an amazing mom. Her deceased husband was said to have been a fantastic dad, and Sam really tries his best (and mostly succeeds) in being a great dad as well. Mostly averted in the case of Linda.
  • Good Witch Versus Bad Witch: Abigail started out as more of an antagonistic bad witch, only wanting to use her abilities for selfish gain or to stir up trouble and constantly clashing with good witch Cassie about how to raise Grace. Abigail later received Character Development when she realized how good it felt using her powers to help people, though she still plays a more rash and outspoken Foil to Cassie, and is willing to be a little more overtly manipulative than Cassie would be.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Sam has some of this in Season 1 when Cassie looks like she might be getting together with someone else.
  • Guile Hero: Cassie is incredibly good at using her Contrived Coincidence power to set up couples and make people happy.
  • Halloween Episode: Happens Once a Season as a longer special aired outside of the regular season run.
  • Heel–Face Return: Sam's ex-wife Linda Wallace has a multi-episode arc in Seasons 1 and 2, showing her to be manipulative and controlling. She attempts to force Nick to come back with her to New York, essentially setting up Sam as the bad guy for not letting Nick go. When that fails, Linda decides to stick around, meddling in their lives and getting jealous over all the time Sam spends with Cassie. She leaves with no real resolution, convinced that Sam and Nick are both "against" her and claiming she has to hurry back to New York for her job. When Linda finally returns to Middleton for Nick's graduation at the end of Season 5, she is much more genial. She is concerned about Nick moving so far away for college, but it is revealed that she feels guilty about not being there for Nick and that the further distance will make it worse. By the end of the episode, Linda enjoys the graduation party along with everyone else, she and Sam are said to have gone in together on a nice graduation gift for Nick, and Sam even agrees to let Nick stay with her over the summer before he starts college.
  • Hidden Depths: Pretty much every character at some point or another. Martha, for example, seems like a Large Ham Small Name, Big Ego, but she has a sense of compassion, truly loves her town and husband, and occasionally shows a pretty good sense of cunning.
  • I Choose to Stay: Nick starts wanting out to study abroad in London. At first, he's all for it, but then realizes that living in a foreign country means more than just getting away from your dad. It means being in a different time zone, different culture, different weather patterns...he eventually decides to stay in the States.
  • Ignored Expert: In 2x03, Sam tells Martha that she has laryngitis — she needs to either rest her voice, or risk losing it completely. Martha being Martha, she refuses. Fortunately, Sam doesn't mind.
  • I Know You Know I Know: Discussed in episode 4x05, when Grace and Nick are cleaning out the closet and arguing over who should do the top and the bottom.
    Grace: "Unless you only said you wanted the top to make me think that's what you wanted, so I'd fight for it."
    Nick:: "Then you can have the bottom."
    Grace: "Or maybe you knew I'd want the one you wanted so you pretended to want the one you didn't want so I would want the one I only thought you wanted."
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Cassie notes in 5x08 that Abigail and a volleyball coach "hit it off."
    • 6x10 has a trivia competition led by the self-proclaimed "Quizard of Oz," and the teams are "Geekend Warriors" and "Mount Cleverest." Sam lampshades the latter.
  • In the Blood: Females of the Merriwick line just seem to be born with their powers, although they may not become apparent until adolescence.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: A positive example. At the end of Season 1, it's noted that Cassie's old landlord helped her to retain Bell, Book, and Candle in part because she helped his granddaughter a while back.
  • Large Ham: Martha just can't stop herself from hogging the spotlight.
  • Opposites Attract: Cassie and Sam are perfect foils for each other, with Sam as the analytical/practical one and Cassie being a "think-outside-the-box" type. She's an idealistic dreamer, and Sam starts out not believing in anything other than what he can see, touch, and measure. He's a physician, and she recommends alternative medicine. They often (though playfully) clash over even small things like coffee (Sam) vs. tea (Cassie). Despite this, their attraction for each other is apparent very early on, and they do have very similar values. Eventually they fall in love and get married.
  • Meaningful Echo: At the beginning of 5x08, Donovan comes up to Abigail and gives her the Big Damn Kiss.
    Donovan: I couldn't wait to do that again.
    Abigail: Why'd you stop?
    • At the end, having come to a kind of Love Realization, she comes up to him and snogs him senseless.
    Abigail: I couldn't wait to do that again.
    Donovan: Why'd you stop?
  • The Mentor: Cassie plays this role to everyone.
  • Nature Lover: All the Merriwicks, and Sam.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Prince Henry in season 5 is a very clear Expy of the UK's Prince Harry.
  • Offscreen Breakup: 5x07 ends with Abigail having a date with Vincent, as they've had UST for a few episodes; by the next episode, they've apparently decided they're Better as Friends.
  • Open Secret: Literally everyone in Middleton knows that the Merriwick women are Witches. Everyone.
  • Papa Wolf: Sam enjoys playing Boyfriend-Blocking Dad to Grace, and will do anything for Nick. In the first season, he is at first willing to let Linda take custody of Nick if the alternative is a prolonged legal battle, which will ultimately hurt his son the most.
  • Parental Bonus: Cassie mentions to Sam that she "woke up this morning thinking of" him. In context, it refers to how she no longer wakes up thinking about Jake, but it does raise certain (ahem) implications.
    • In series 2, Tara says that having a baby will mean giving up her figure for nine months. Brandon smirks and says both of them will be giving that up. He follows this up with Shutting Up Now.
  • Posthumous Character: Jake's life and death play a fairly important role in Season 1, and to a lesser extent in later seasons.
  • Power Incontinence: On rare occasions, the interference or damaging of some kind of artifact will temporarily block Merriwick abilities. Of particular note, in Season 3 a beloved town flower known as the Middleton Merriwick is damaged, and both Cassie and Abigail's powers suffer as a result.
    • The red-haloed moon plays havoc with the Merriwicks' powers, and threatens to destabilize them completely.
  • The Power of Love: Downplayed, that Love doesn't conquer every problem automatically. However, it's possible to overcome just about any obstacle through a combination of The Power of Love and open, honest communication.
  • Psychic Radar: Female Merriwicks are implied to have some kind of this, which is how they always know whenever someone's coming up behind them.
  • Put on a Bus: Grace leaves for college at the end of Season 5 and is absent for Seasons 6 and 7 (aside from a couple of very brief cameos). This is contrasted by Nick, who also goes off to college but is more Commuting on a Bus by coming home on occasion.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Sam tells Linda off for trying to use Nick to fill the void in her life her ex-boyfriend left behind, adds that there's a reason he's in Sam's custody rather than Linda's, and will stay there. When she feebly protests he can't keep her from Nick, Sam calmly tells her he's not planning on it. But Nick will stay with him.
  • Running Gag: Cassie always knows when someone is coming up behind her. Always. She'll often greet someone without even turning around. For example, in 4x07:
    Cassie: Now I have to help the mayor.
    Abigail: Oh, is the mayor here?
    Martha: Yoo-hoo!
    • Or in 6x11, when Cassie asks Stephanie to get the door right before someone knocks.
    • Merriwick women always know when someone's phone is about to ring, just before it does.
    • Everyone's complete inability to keep Martha's secret anniversary party a secret.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: Police Chief Sanders to Martha Tinsdale. He's incredibly devoted to helping her, but he'll also happily throw in some snark or tell her that a plan just isn't feasible.
    • To a somewhat lesser extent, Eve serves as this to Sam. She's his secretary, but not afraid to offer snarky suggestions when necessary.
  • Seers: The Merriwick women (particularly Cassie) often have the ability to sense what's about to happen. It usually manifests in things like knowing who's on the phone before picking it up or greeting someone while their backs are turned (see Running Gag).
  • Shipper on Deck: Having problems with your relationship? Cassie will help. Pretty much the whole town seems to be shipping her and Sam. Notably, when Stephanie shows interest in Sam early in the show, Abigail deliberately works to head her off.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In 2x03, Eve says to Sam, "What's up, Doc?"
    • George encourages Derek Sanders to act like "Columbo" and references his "one more thing" catchphrase, though the latter doesn't know who that is.
    • Prince Henry is said to come from the island of Cordonia.
    • In 5x10, Cassie quotes David McCullough Jr: "Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world."
    • Martha thinks about calling her new book "The Importance of Being Martha" in 6x05.
    • 7x01 is absolutely full of them: Abigail calls Donovan "The Flash," and Cassie calls Sam "Captain Jack Sparrow." In the same episode, due to how much he's kicking, the Tinsdale baby is called "The Karate Kid." Possibly unintentionally, Martha references Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence."
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Cassie and Sam, though downplayed as they're both mature adults.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Pretty much every woman in the show is attracted to Nice Guys. Fortunately, there's no shortage of those in Middleton.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The show is firmly on the idealistic side. Conflicts are always resolved, people learn the error of their ways, and love conquers all.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Martha Tinsdale always believes she is deserving of attention, despite just being the mayor of a rather small town. It's usually Played for Laughs, though.
  • Small Town Rivalry: There is one between Middleton and the bordering town of Blairsville, due to a family feud between the Merriwicks of Middleton and the Davenports of Blairsville that started in the 19th century.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Linda in season 1 and 2 keeps trying to engage in this with Cassie, (correctly) feeling like she's being replaced in Sam's affections. It's subverted because Cassie is too polite to engage with her and no sells her attempts.
    • A constant between Stephanie and Abigail, especially in earlier seasons. Also between Dottie Davenport and pretty much everyone.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Cassie excels at pulling these.
  • Stealth Pun: The title of the fourth episode of Season 4 (ie episode 4x4) is "In 4/4, With Emotion".
  • Team Mom: Cassie again, to pretty much the whole town. Martha also tries to be this.
  • The Three Faces of Eve: Among the three main Merriwick ladies, we have Cassie (Wife), Abigail (Seductress), and Grace (Child). After Grace goes off to college, we get Joy, the least experienced Merriwick.
  • This Cannot Be!: Played for Laughs. Martha, when she's told she has to rest her voice.
  • Tranquil Fury: Sam, when giving Linda a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Twerp Sweating: Sam has a lot of fun doing this to Luke when he comes to pick up Grace for their first date, inquiring about their plans, Death Glare, and all. Cassie even lampshades his Boyfriend-Blocking Dad nature.
    Luke: You're a doctor, right?
    Sam: Surgeon. I cut people open.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Abigail and Stephanie grow into this. They can barely hold a conversation without snarking (especially in the first few seasons), but when the chips are down, they really do care about each other.
    • Grace and Nick become this, and so (a few moments of Ship Tease aside) it's unsurprising that they end up being step-siblings.
  • Walking the Earth: Cassie did some of this before settling in Middleton. At the end of the series, she and Sam go off to do this together.
  • Winds of Destiny, Change!: An ability of the Merriwick ladies — they seem to be able to set up Contrived Coincidences so that things occur just right for them. Sometimes, it's unconscious.
  • With Friends Like These...: Abigail at first, especially to Stephanie.
  • World of Snark: Apparently, one of the requirements for living in Middleton is the ability to toss out sarcastic barbs. Abigail, Martha, and (in his earlier appearances especially) Sam are the stand-out examples, though everyone gets their moments.