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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. The show premiered in March 2018; the third series began airing February 2021.


Tropes used in Harrow include:

  • Accidental Misnaming: A Running Gag in first season is that Harrow seems incapable of remembering the name of Simon's partner, resulting in all kinds of creative guesses.
  • Actually Not a Vampire: the Victim of the Week in "Damnant Quod Non Intellegunt" ("They condemn what they do not understand"). Suffering from the rare blood disease porphyria, Simon Wells decided to embrace his condition by following the vampire lifestyle, including getting fangs implanted by a dentist and drinking animal blood to ease his symptoms. Unfortunately, his elderly neighbour was an immigrant from the countryside of Romania, who was raised on vampire folklore. When his wife was certified dead (she wasn't) after a snakebite to the throat, he avenged the murder of his wife by killing the vampire. When his wife regains consciousness and is returned home, Harrow is just in time to stop her weeping husband from killing his (he thinks) newly-turned wife.
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  • All for Nothing: the killer of season three's "Alea Iacta Est" ("The Die has been Cast"). They orchestrated a double murder in order to claim a time capsule containing a valuable rare stamp. When the capsule is opened after the killer is arrested, it turns out the time capsule wasn't laid correctly and moisture seeped in, rotting the stamp away.
  • All Women Love Shoes: Dr. Grace Molyneux is quite a clothes horse. In "Malum In Se" ("Evil in Itself"), she correctly estimates how long a female corpse has been walled up from the style of shoes she is wearing.
  • Animal Assassin: In "Aegri Somnia" ("Hallucinations"), the Victim of the Week is murdered by being force fed Irukandji jellyfish: the most venomous jellyfish in the world.
  • 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.
  • Asshole Victim: Quinn, the mysterious body fished out of the Brisbane River in season one, was not a pleasant man: a Dirty Cop with a gambling addiction who was sexually abusing his stepdaughter.
  • 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.
  • Bird-Poop Gag: In "Audere Est Facere" ("To Dare Is to Do"), a driver who has stopped for a cup of coffee returns to his car to find a bird has crapped on the windscreen. He curses and starts to clean it off. As he is doing so, a body plummets from the sky and impacts on the roof of his car. Startled he takes a few steps back, and narrowly misses being hit by a second body that impacts the ground a few feet away.
  • Black-Tie Infiltration: In "Aegri Somnia" ("Hallucinations"), Harrow wants to get a water sample from an aquarium that is holding a formal reception for potential investors. Deciding that it will take the local police too long to obtain a warrant, he learns that two investors are laid up in hospital with food poisoning. Harrow steals their invitations and he Grace infiltrate the reception using their identities.
  • Brand X: A public phone is seen with symbols for the fictitious 'QLD Connect' covering the real Telstra logo.
  • British Brevity: though it's an Australian show; the first two seasons are 10 episodes each.
  • 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.
  • Car Cushion: At the opening of "Audere Est Facere" ("To Dare Is to Do"), a car owner is wiping bird droppings off the windscreen when a BASE jumper crashes fatally on to the roof. A second later, the jumper's partner hits the ground next to the car.
  • 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.
  • Chute Sabotage: In "Audere Est Facere" ("To Dare Is to Do"), the Victim of the Week is a BASE jumper killed when the murderer switches the line for his pilot chute from the left to the right side of his pack, so he cannot find it after he jumps off the building.
  • Constructive Body Disposal: In "Malum In Se" ("Evil in Itself") a body is bricked up behind a new wall being constructed in a suburban home undergoing renovation. It stays undisturbed for a decade until the new owners of the house start ripping out the old renovations.
  • Continuity Nod: in Season 3's "Damnant Quod Non Intellegunt" ("They condemn what they do not understand"), a corpse from the day before that Harrow hasn't gotten around to examining yet, sits up on the slab and starts screaming just before the first cut. The new head of the department asks if this happens often: Harrow admits 'Once'. (He's referring to the episode, "Mes Rea")
  • 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.
  • Darker and Edgier: The season-long mystery in season 2 compared to the one in the first season.
  • Date Rape: In "Malum In Se" ("Evil in Itself"), Harrow and Grace uncover a case of date rape at Wild Teen Party while investigating a decades old death. Although not directly connected to the death, it does result in the capture of a sexual predator.
  • 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.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: In "Aegri Somnia" ("Hallucinations")", Harrow is discussing Francis Chester's death with Dr. Laurie Badcoe, when Badcoe says that Chester was a dangerous beast who "died in captivity". Harrow repeats "in captivity" and experiences a "Eureka!" Moment regarding the Body of the Week.
  • Evil Poacher: In "Aegri Somnia" ("Hallucinations"), the Body of the Week is a local ranger, murdered when he uncovered a poaching ring run by his boss that is poaching rare aquatic species from the local waters and selling them to overseas collectors.
  • Exact Words: In the final episode of the first season: "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.
  • Frame-Up: In season two, a mysterious figure sets out to make Harrow's life a living hell. As part of this, he plants stolen drugs in Fern's apartment and then calls the police, getting her arrested. She's later framed for the murder of the man who planted the drugs
  • 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.
  • Hand Stomp: A variation in "Audere Est Facere" ("To Dare Is to Do"). When Harrow is Hanging by the Fingers from the roof of Brisbane's tallest building, the killer repeatedly hits his hands with a selfie stick in an effort to make him let go.
  • Hanging by the Fingers: In "Audere Est Facere" ("To Dare Is to Do"), Harrow confronts the killer on the roof of a skyscraper. Lured over the safety rail, the killer gives Harrow a shove that leaves him hanging by his fingertips from the lip of the ledge.
  • 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 Depths: In "Damnant quod non Intellegunt" ("They condemn what they do not understand") the Victim of the Week is an online antiquities dealer, and Harrow goes into modest raptures over the gorgeous and valuable antique furniture in the house. Nichols then accurately identifies a nearby antique table, and reveals how much a similar table cost him to purchase. Followed by an exchange which is very funny in a Deadpan Snarker sort of way:
    Nichols: What, you thought I got all my furniture at IKEA?
    Harrow: I did think you were somewhere on the flat-pack spectrum, yes.
    • In another example for Detective Nichols, the episode "Alea Iacta Est" ("The Die has been Cast") reveals that he's the precinct poker champion.
  • 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'. In season 3's "Damnant Quod Non Intellegunt" ("They condemn what they do not understand"), Harrow gets Gregory back after it was set on fire. His reaction to Gregory's restoration borders on Robo Ship; his mechanic tells Harrow to cool it before he gets embarrassed!
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Episodes are named with a Latin phrase with a translation in brackets after it.
  • Idiot Ball: Harrow steps over the railing of a skyscraper in order to stop someone committing suicide. This is commendable, but it would be dangerous enough if the person was simply depressed. The fact that Harrow knew this person had just willingly killed her husband made it stupid in the extreme.
  • 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?
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Harrow bucks authority, abuses co-workers, lies, steals, bends or breaks laws and worse. All for good reasons but it costs him dearly. But, listen to him talk to the families of the dead and you know what is deep inside him is good.
  • Joggers Find Death: "Aegri Somnia" ("Hallucinations") opens with a woman jogging along the beach in North Queensland. She finds a damaged Parks and Conservation boat washed up on the sand and, when she looks behind it, the Body of the Week, which has been gnawed on by sharks.
  • 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.
  • Killed Off for Real: Simon is killed by Francis Chester at the end of "Aegri Somnia" ("Hallucinations").
  • 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.
  • Never Suicide: In "Audere Est Facere" ("To Dare Is to Do"), what at first appears to be a tragic accident starts to look like suicide. However, as Harrow continues to dig deeper, he discovers that the 'suicide' is actually a carefully planned murder.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Despite the show being set in Brisbane, Ioan Gruffudd is clearly making no attempt at an Aussie accent. A throwaway line explains it: in fact, conveniently, Dr. Harrow is from Wales. The backstory of what brought a Welsh doctor to Australia is unexplained until Season 3 when Harrow mentions coming to work in Australia as a newly qualified doctor.
  • 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
  • OOC 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.
  • Papa Wolf: While he and his daughter Fern have their issues, Harrow will do just about anything to protect her including committing murder. In season 3 it remains to be seen how far he'll go for his previously unknown son, James.
  • 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.
  • Percussive Pickpocket: While trying to find out who framed her in "Aegri Somnia" ("Hallucinations"), Fern deliberately bumps into a pharmacist and lifts his car keys.
  • 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
  • Rape as Drama: Fern Harrow was sexually abused by her stepfather; it's why Harrow killed him.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Detective Senior Sergeant Bryan Nichols is a grumpy old cuss who doesn't seem to 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.
  • Shark Pool: During a confrontation with the murderer and her mook in "Aegri Somnia" ("Hallucinations"), Harrow and the thug fall into the aquarium's shark tank during the struggle.
  • 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.
  • Surgeons Can Do Autopsies If They Want: Handled realistically with Dr. Grace Molyneux. Grace is a neurosurgeon making a career change to being a pathologist. She is retraining under Dr. Harrow's supervision and is not permitted to perform postmortems on her own.
  • 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!
  • This Bear Was Framed: In "Aegri Somnia" ("Hallucinations"), Harrow and Grace conduct an autopsy of a ranger who appears to have died as a result of shark attack. However, the true cause of death is Irukandji jellyfish stings. Harrow eventually determines that he was not stung after falling out of his boat, but by being force fed the jellyfish.
  • '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.
  • The Killer in Me: Season one's Story Arc was about the murder of Robert Quinn; in the season one finale "Mes Rea" ("Guilty Mind"), we discover it was Harrow who murdered him.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Simon, both Asian and gay. This caused accusation of Bury Your Gays to the show after he is killed off midway through season 2.
  • 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.
    • in "Damnant Quod Non Intellegunt" ("They condemn what they do not understand"), a corpse that Harrow hasn't gotten around to examing yet sits up on the slab and starts screaming. This turns out to be from a snake bite, which lowered the woman's heartbeat until her family physician couldn't detect it, and he was the one who certified her as dead - at least as best he could with the woman's husband having hysterics. This becomes important when you realise that Mrs Kovacs' wound was on her throat, her husband grew up in an isolated area of Romania, and a young man in the neighbourhood had the rare blood disease porphyria and decided to embrace the vampire lifestyle.
  • 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.
  • Wild Teen Party: In "Malum In Se" ("Evil in Itself"), the death turns out to be the result of a wild university party being held by a student while his parents are out of the country.


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