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Series / Harrow

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Harrow is an Australian television drama series that stars Ioan Gruffudd as Dr. Daniel Harrow.

Harrow tells the story of Dr. Daniel Harrow, a forensic pathologist with a total disregard for authority. He has an unfailing empathy for the dead which helps him solve even the most bizarre of cases. Willing to bend every rule, he is determined to give victims a voice and reveal the truth behind what happened to them. Meanwhile, a terrible secret from his past threatens him, his family, and his career.

Harrow is set in Brisbane, which is unusual for an Australian crime drama, as Sydney and Melbourne are used more often.


Tropes used in Harrow include:

  • Animated Credits Opening: Rather arty credits which transform from scenery to pathology. For instance the Brisbane River becomes a blood vessel on a human heart and the grooves on a record change into a fingerprint.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Harrow drives over Brisbane's iconic Story Bridge while talking on his mobile phone. The call is about four times as long as driving over the bridge should take.
  • Bait-and-Switch: "Hic Sunt Dracones" ("Here be dragons") starts with an older gentleman backing his car out of his garage while a young lad skateboards along the street. There is a thump. The old man gets out of his car to see... the kid with a skateboard, fine, but staring at the dead crocodile under the car's wheels.
  • Brand X: A public phone is seen with symbols for the fictitious 'QLD Connect' covering the real Telstra logo.
  • Advertisement:
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Everyone agrees that Harrow is a brilliant forensic pathologist. However, his methods are unorthodox, his personal life is a disaster, and he is constantly on the verge of being fired.
  • Cement Shoes: The first episode opens with a hooded figure in a dinghy wrapping a dead body in a sleeping bag. He then fills the sleeping bag with cement, ties the entire bundle tightly with rope, and dumps it into the river. At the end of the episode, it is revealed that the figure was Harrow.
  • Convenient Terminal Illness: The mother in "Pia mater" ("Gentle Mother") is dying of terminal cancer when she deliberately crashes her car; killing herself and her adult son. Harrow's investigation reveals her son was a burgeoning Serial Killer when she attempted to kill him in his teens. Her bullet lodged in his frontal lobe, causing a drastic personality change. Years later, an accident caused the bullet to shift and his original personality started to return. The mother, dying of cancer, decided to finish the job she started years earlier by killing them both.
  • Death by Falling Over: Combined Out with a Bang in "Peccata Patris" ("Sins of the Father"). The Victim of the Week is suffering from a fatal allergic reaction to his boyfriend's sperm. However, while he is choking to death, his boyfriend's father shoves him over and he hits his head on a fountain, caving in the back of his skull.
  • Erotic Asphyxiation: In "Aurum Potestas Est" ("Gold is Power"), one Victim of the Week dies during an erotic asphyxiation session gone wrong. The other party's need to cover this up leads to murder.
  • Exact Words: In the final episode: "Do you know what happened to Robert?" "I wish I could tell you."
  • Fingore: The figure who dumps Quinn's body into the river uses a bone cutter to cut off the finger bearing his wedding ring before throwing the body overboard.
  • Foreign Language Title: All of the episode titles consist of a Latin phrase followed by an English translation in brackets.
  • The Gambling Addict: One of Quinn's many nasty habits was gambling, and he owed money all over town. Nichols remarks that there are plenty of loan sharks and ex-friends he owed money to who would make for potential murder suspects, but also that Quinn never borrowed more than a couple of thousand from any one source, and that kind of sum is scarcely worth killing over.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Harrow falls hard for the redheaded Sgt. Dass. However, his secrets and her innate curiosity drive a wedge between them.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: In "Non Sum Qualis Eram" ("I'm not what I used to be"), Harrow's car has been taken by Fern, so he helps himself to Fairley's car keys and nicks Fairley's car.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The key to Harrow's locked case of antique surgical instruments is sitting in the key slot of a windup toy that is sitting on his desk.
  • Houseboat Hero: Harrow lives on his sailboat anchored on the Brisbane River.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: In "Ex Animo" ("From The Heart"), Harrow unravels a confusing set of clues to determine that this is what had happened to the Victim of the Week.
  • I Call It "Vera": Harrow's old and battered, but beloved, Fiat is nicknamed 'Gregory'.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Episodes are named with a Latin phrase with a translation in brackets after it.
  • In the Hood: "Actus Reus" ("Guilty Act") opens with a figure in a boat Disposing of a Body; the figure's identity concealed by the hoodie he is wearing.
  • Is That What They're Calling It Now?: In "Aurum Potestas Est" ("Gold is Power"), Simon is telling Dass about a bet between him and Harrow about who could stand in the new freezer the longest naked:
    Harrow: And I would have won if I hadn't had to take that phone call.
    Dass: Is that what the kids are calling it now?
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: In the flashback to the fatal fight in "Mens Rea" ("Guilty Mind"). Quinn kicks Harrow in the ribs while he is down on the floor.
  • Knife Nut: In "Finis Vitae Sed Non Amoris" ("The End of Life, but not of Love"), a former soldier suffering from PTSD has a huge collection of knives, which makes him the primary suspect when a body is discovered in his backyard.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: In "Peccata Patris" ("Sins of the Father"), the Body of the Week is arranged to make it look like he slipped on a wet boat dock and hit his head on the step. However, there was no algae in the head wound which there should have been, as the step was covered in it.
  • Murder-Suicide: In "Mens Rea" ("Guilty Mind"), Harrow is on duty when a murder/suicide pair is dropped off at the morgue. Harrow is surprised when the murdered half turns out to be a colleague of his. He is then shocked when the 'suicide' half wakes up and proceeds to hold him hostage.
  • Nazi Grandpa: In "Lex Talionis" ("The Law of Retaliation"), the Victim of the Week, who was supposedly a Czech and a champion of the migrant community, is revealed to have been an officer at Auschwitz. He was murdered by one of his victims who recognised him and had herself admitted to the same nursing home specifically to kill him.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: In "Hic Sunt Dracones" ("Here be Dragons"), Harrow is called in after a human arm is found inside a dead crocodile. He is less than pleased when he has to go fossicking around inside a croc's nest in an attempt to find the rest of the body: especially as he is afraid of lizards.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: In "Aurum Potestas Est" ("Gold is Power"), an official from the Department of Energy does everything in her power to stymie Harrow's investigation when it threatens to derail a multi-billion dollar mining deal.
  • Offing the Offspring: In "Pia mater" ("Gentle Mother"), a mother deliberately crashes her car, killing both herself and her adult son. Harrow's job is to find out why.
  • One-Word Title
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Dass realises this about Harrow's actions during the series, specifically that he had made apparent mistakes in forensic science despite being the best pathologist in the state, fueling her suspicions about his connection to Quinn's death.
  • Out with a Bang: In "Peccata Patris" ("Sins of the Father"), the Victim of the Week is a gay schoolboy who suffers a fatal allergic reaction to semen while giving his boyfriend oral sex for the first time. This leads to Death by Falling Over when he is given a shove while choking.
  • Parking Problems: In "Non Sum Qualis Eram" ("I'm not what I used to be"), Harrow "borrows" Fairley's car without asking. When he returns it, he leaves it in a No Standing zone, so when when Fairley comes out to find his car, he is immediately handed a parking ticket.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: The discovery of Quinn's body in the river is the triggering event that starts Daniel Harrow's life unravelling.
  • Pop the Tires: In "Peccata Patris" ("Sins of the Father"), Nichols discovers that someone slashed Quinn's tyres two weeks before he was murdered. At the end of the episode, CCTV footage reveals that the person responsible was Fern Harrow.
  • Posthumous Character: Quinn, the mysterious body pulled up from the river in the first episode and not identified for several episodes thereafter. He only ever appears in photos and in flashbacks.
  • Precision F-Strike: In "Aurum Potestas Est" ("Gold is Power"), Detective Senior Sergeant note  Nichols asks the Obstructive Bureaucrat if she can pass a written message to her government Minister. The message says 'Fuck Off'.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Detective Senior Sergeant Bryan Nichols is a grumpy old cuss who doesn't like Harrow (or anyone else) very much. He still stops everyone and everything from interfering with Harrow's investigations. At least until he determines that Harrow and his family may be connected to Quinn's death.
  • Scenery Porn: The series has some lovely shots of Brisbane (city and river) and gives viewers a good look at several Queenslanders (a style of house typical of the city's older suburbs). Other scenes show off smarter homes, very personalised workplaces and lush bush landscapes.
  • Slashed Throat: This is how the Victim of the Week is murdered in "Aurum Potestas Est" ("Gold is Power"). Her body is then dumped on the railroad tracks in an attempt to mask the cause of death.
  • That Came Out Wrong: In "Peccata Patris" ("Sins of the Father"), Fairley is arguing with Harrow about who should get Maxine's position if she leaves as he walks out of his office:
    Fairley: If anyone should get that head job, it's me!
    (turns around and finds he is face-to-face with Simon)
    Fairley: That's not what it sounded like!
  • 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain: In "Pia mater" ("Gentle Mother"), what appears to be a straightforward car accident takes a turn for the weird when the autopsy reveals one of the victims had a bullet lodged in his brain. A bullet that had been there for years before the accident. The bullet remained lodged in his frontal lobe for decades and changed his personality from burgeoning serial killer to gentle animal lover. A minor bingle in his sister's car resulted in his head hitting the dashboard; the impact slightly dislodged the bullet and caused his original personality to resurface. His elderly mum, already terminal from cancer, decided to crash her ute with him in it to stop him from hurting anyone else.
  • Vorpal Pillow: Used to murder the Victim of the Week in "Lex Talionis" ("The Law of Retaliation"): an elderly patient in a nursing home. The murderer first straps the victim to the bed to reduce the struggling.
  • Waking Up at the Morgue: In "Mens Rea" ("Guilty Mind"), Harrow is shocked when one half of a Murder-Suicide rises up off the slab and proceeds to pull the knife out of the other half and take him hostage.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Harrow is afraid of lizards. This becomes especially relevant in "Hic Sunt Dracones" ("Here be Dragons") where the case starts with a human arm found inside a crocodile, and later involves a wildlife smuggler with a boat full of exotic lizards.


Example of: