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Kicking ass and taking brains.

"Hmm, so 'you are what you eat' isn't just a bitchy thing my mother says about fat people."
Liv

A crime/black comedy show that began airing in 2015 on The CW based on the Chris Roberson-Mike Allred Vertigo Comics series iZOMBIE and executive produced by Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright.

Olivia "Liv" Moore is a young, upwardly-mobile go-getter who has it all. She's pretty, perky, has a hot fiance, and is on the fast track to becoming a heart surgeon.

Well, she was.

That is, until she got scratched by a zombie in the middle of an outbreak and became undead. Now she's a zombie, who has to eat brains to stay intelligent and civilized. Instead of continuing as a surgical resident, now she works in the morgue. And since her need to eat brains comes with the side effect of picking up some of the...er..."brain donor's" memories and skills, she also helps a detective solve their murders.

Stars Rose McIver as Liv Moore, Rahul Kohli as Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti, Malcolm Goodwin as Detective Clive Babineaux, Robert Buckley as Major Lilywhite (Liv's former fiance), David Anders as Blaine DeBeers, and Aly Michalka as Peyton Charles (Liv's best friend, and love interest to both Ravi and Blaine).

In the middle of May of 2018, the series was renewed for a fifth season, but it was confirmed shortly after that the fifth season will be the show's last.

Currently has a recap page.


    open/close all folders 

    Tropes A-B 
  • Aborted Arc:
    • At the beginning of season 2, Liv pledges not to let her family ostracize her. They haven't been mentioned since.
    • Major gives Vaughn a Fitbit with a listening device inside in one episode, but it's never brought up again and likely never will with the way season two ended.
    • Don E. tells Blaine that Chief thinks he may have accidentally scratched a client's bodyguard during a brain delivery. Blaine is nonplussed, saying he supposes they'll know if all zombie hell breaks lose. It never does. Nothing comes of this, and it's unlikely it will with the zombie outbreak in the season three finale.
    • In the season 3 premiere, Peyton receives 'terrible' harassment on Twitter while she is still shaky from her abduction, leading her to seek comfort from Blaine after Ravi doesn't answer her call. It's never mentioned again, nor is it discovered who the perpetrator was. It's possible it was Blaine himself, hoping she'd take him up on an earlier offer to keep her company if she was nervous. It's also possible it was Don E., who may have lashed out at her following his bitter altercation with Blaine at Shady Plots; as he believed Blaine was faking his amnesia to get close to her (he had yet to do so by that point in time). It was also speculated that it may have been Stacey Boss threatening her as a way to seed his return, though the two did not even interact when Boss did return to Seattle.
    • It’s implied Blaine scratched and later killed Vivian Stoll’s husband Harrison Graves. Vivian wishes to get revenge on whoever killed her husband, but she doesn’t have the chance to do so before she is killed off to accommodate Andrea Savage’s departure from the series. It is never brought up again, even with a Chase Graves, who was Harrison’s brother.
  • AB Negative: A slightly justified example in the season one finale when Evan is caught in an explosion at Meat Cute. He has O Negative blood, which can only receive itself in transfusions, and the hospital is in short supply (Truth in Television, as O Negative is the universal donor and is used quite often). Since he needs a transfusion immediately, the only option available at the moment is his sister, Liv. Because of her zombie status, she refuses.
  • Abusive Parents: It's revealed that Blaine's father, Angus, neglected him and his mother as a child, and allowed/encouraged his nanny to abuse him. Angus later states "Blaine was miserable because he beat him, and he beat him because he was miserable."
  • Adorkable: Ravi is very enthusiastic about studying zombies. Liv has her moments. As does Blaine, surprisingly. Major also occasionally gets moments.
  • Aerith and Bob: Most of the names are normal for northwestern US or other culturally appropriate names, but Major is a pretty odd first name, and no one ever draws attention to how odd it is.
  • Affably Evil: Both Blaine and Vaughn Du Clark.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Sebastian breaks down in tears when he reveals that he killed and ate his aunt when he got hungry and lost control after becoming a zombie. While he was an Ax-Crazy hitman its hard not to feel bad for him.
  • The Alcoholic: Liv becomes one after eating the brain of a hard-drinking woman. Fortunately for her, that's exactly what she needs after seeing Lowell get himself killed.
    • This happens again in the third season premiere after Liv watches Drake die. Though it's not due to any brain, it's by Liv's own choice. She drowns her sorrows back in her apartment, and Clive later takes her out drinking as well only for her to doze off in Ravi's office when he brings her back to the morgue.
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: In "Liv and Let Clive" the Chinese-American gangster whose brains Liv eats lends her this ability temporarily. And the Chinese-American gangster she fights also knows Kung Fu.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Peyton and Blaine's relationship plays into this trope. She fell for him initially while thinking he was simply a reformed drug dealer, and again when she believed him to be a changed man due to amnesia.
  • Always Murder: Kinda comes with the territory. Justified as Clive is a homicide detective and Liv, who works in the morgue, needs to eat the brains of the victim to get her "psychic visions".
  • Ambiguously Bi: In "Brother, Can You Spare a Brain?", after eating the brain of a womanizing artist, Liv acts very "friendly" toward one of his mistresses. It's not clear whether this is because of absorbing his memories or due to an overall effect of her passions being heightened due to eating his brain, as there's evidence of both throughout the episode. See "Suddenly Sexuality" below.
    • In "Pour Some Sugar Zombie", Liv eats the brain of a stripper. She gives a very uncomfortable Peyton a lap dance.
    • When Liv is trying to find out if Peyton will be gone while she gets it on with Justin:
    Peyton: What if I can make you a better offer? [meaning vacate the premises in exchange for a favor]
    Liv: I don't want you to be insulted, and don't think I haven't considered it, but...I'm going to stick with men.
    • The favor turns out to be eating the brain of the guy from a few episodes ago who killed a dominatrix. In the name of triggering a vision, Peyton and Liv fulfill the fantasies of a hoard of male viewers, with Peyton donning black leather and smacking Liv with a fly swatter.
  • Amicable Exes: Liv and Major. The two still share an intimate and involving friendship, and the two are still protective of one another, and obviously in love with each other despite Liv calling off their engagement.
    • Peyton and Ravi in Season 2; though they briefly rekindle their romance at the end of the season, it falls apart in the third.
  • Amnesiac Hero: Blaine attempts to be this after taking the second cure he loses a large majority of his memories. He seems to be becoming this trope, helping get brains to Major when he is in jail and saving Peyton from several of Mr. Boss's men. Turns out he's faking it. He did lose his memories for a while, but he kept up with the charade to try and change his life and how people viewed him.
  • Anchored Ship: Liv and Major's relationship is on hold after Liv leaves him as she doesn't want to infect him with her zombie-ism.
  • And I Must Scream: Blaine's plan for his father. By trapping him in a well and periodically feeding him brains, he's prevented from dying, escaping, or becoming a mindless Romero. It doesn't last as long as planned.
  • Animated Adaptation: The opening credits show the events of the pilot in an animated comicbook style form.
  • Anti-Role Model: Major develops into this after he arrives at a youth counseling session with scratches on his face, and then when he appears on the bi-weekly police blotter list.
  • Applied Phlebotinum/Synthetic Plague:
    • Zombie-ism seems to be spread through fluid contact, including bites and scratches. Liv got it from a scratch to her arm. Liv accurately fears that it can be spread through sex (one of the reasons she broke up with her fiance), which Blaine then demonstrates as true in the second episode. Ravi explains to her that he thinks the new "designer drug" that was being passed around at the boat party - called "Utopium" - was actually a test run for some sort of man-made biological warfare agent. Blaine's fellow drug dealers in the second episode seem to indicate that "Utopium" itself is a normal drug, but they think that without their knowledge it was "cut" with something else that made everyone die.
    • By episode 8, Ravi has figured out that whatever causes the zombie-ism is some sort of binary compound: half is in the street drug "Utopium", and the other half is in the popular "Max Rager Energy Drink". If the victims take Utopium and then a swig of the energy drink, they combine in their system and turn them into zombies - though zombie-ism is also transmissible through bodily fluids (including scratches), implying it is some sort of designer virus. Internal e-mails from the energy drink company reveal that they were also terrified of reports that a handful of people taking their new drink line turned psychotic - they thought it was an allergic reaction, but it was actually because those affected were also taking Utopium and mixed the two. Blaine was high on Utopium when Liv threw her drink in his face for groping her; thus she incidentally turned him into a zombie before he did so to her.
  • Artistic License – Biology: In one episode, Ravi analyses the virus causing the zombie to see if it can penetrate the latex of a condom, and determines that it can, as it's about a hundred times smaller than the average virus. Of course, even the average virus is something you wouldn't be able to see through the light microscope Ravi is shown bowing over in that episode....And the more complex the virus, the bigger it is. One would expect the zombie virus, given what it can do, to be quite complex and thus quite large.
    • Also present in the episode where Liv eats the brain of a pregnant woman who was about to give birth. It comes through as Liv scolding people for misbehaving, making sure Ravi has eaten, etc... but those are more learned patterns by raising a child then they are instinctual. If she ate the woman's entire brain, it's the pregnancy hormones that would have hit her - having to pee every 20 minutes, chances of her getting a linea nigra, an urge to scrub her house from top to bottom, huge hormonal shifts and crying one minute and laughing the next, painful breasts, and other things... and it may have even made her look more human, as blood volume doubles during pregnancy. It was a cute episode, but it might've been funnier if she'd had to deal with the real stuff.
    • The problems with researching a cure make little to no sense if one understands basic biology (and chemistry) in the first place. Assuming first that something like this could be cured, the main obstacle is the difficulty in finding tainted Utopium, since that's what caused the virus to develop. Except, realistically all they'd need is the virus itself to figure out a cure. Ravi also seemingly never thinks to put the samples he does find through any kind of tests to find out what's in the compound, which would be extremely doable and allow him to just make it himself rather than trying to find samples of it (which, at this point, would likely be unusable anyway). Lastly, that Ravi could develop the cure to something like this, from a police crime lab with no funding or the proper equipment; the equipment he has should actually only really be useful in doing the above, figuring out what's in the tainted Utopium, yet while he seemingly can't do that, he can artificially replicate the virus in non-human hosts, create two working versions of the cure, and creates a vaccine.
      • The vaccine (assuming it works) is also shown as a pill of some kind he swallows. Let's just say, if it was possible to vaccinate against horrible diseases orally rather than through injection, then shots simply wouldn't be a thing given their uncomfortable nature. The pill would make more sense as a means of taking the cure, not for giving one a vaccination. On top of that, Ravi takes the vaccination and then immediately exposes himself to the virus to test it; realistically he'd need to wait some time, as his body needs to process the vaccine and develop its immunitynote . By exposing himself immediately, he would instead be guaranteeing an infection rather than preventing it.
  • Art Shift: The show has a lot of Comic Style transitions due the fact that it's inspired by the iZOMBIE comic book.
  • Ascended Extra: Both Peyton and Angus were recurring characters before being promoted to series regulars.
    • Don E.'s friend and employee Tanner is initially introduced as a drug dealer who once knew Major in a thirty second scene. He later returns as one of Clive's informants, and in the third season becomes a recurring character working at The Scratching Post.
  • Asshole Victim: Quite a few over time. Some notable ones include:
    • An internet troll and hacker, known for doing things like driving a donut shop out of business with a lot of fake reviews in retaliation for a cruller almost killing him with his peanut allergy (it wasn't their fault; they found out that the canola oil they used was made by their supplier in the same machines as peanut oil, but by the time they switched oils, the shop was gone along with the life savings they'd sunk into it). Numerous people celebrated this guy's death.
    • A crotchety old man who was known for yelling and getting into fights with everyone around him, to the point his own family couldn't even stand to be around him. He was a very vocal racist and detested basically everyone and everything but his beloved car (which he's ironically killed by).
    • The zombie-hunting rednecks; it turns out they're completely innocent of Wally's murder but they still gladly tortured Don E and were willing to kill him and any other zombies. They're all killed, save for their leader Harley, in a shootout with Filmore-Graves, but its hard to feel bad for any of them.
  • Attack Drone: The murder weapon in one case turns out to be a delivery drone with an attached 3D-printed gun.
  • Attractive Zombie: Most of the Living Dead in the show are still as ridiculously good-looking as they were before being affected.
    • Subverted in terms of the Romero Zombies, that appear with the decaying flesh, and zero humanity.
  • Autopsy Snack Time: Kind of the series premise. Justified in Liv's case. Less justified when Ravi does it, but on the other hand, by normalizing it, he makes it less likely that she would get in trouble.
  • Back from the Dead: Blaine manages to pull this off. Mr. Boss slit his throat and buried him, but the stress of being killed triggered his regression back to zombiehood, just in time to recover from the fatal wound.
  • Bad Boss: Quite a few:
    • Blaine's been shown to kill any of his goons or clients who go off the rails. One episode has him knife a goon's throat when a supply of expensive brains goes missing, though it was nonlethal since the goon was a zombie. However he later spares Don E. after the latter betrayed him, showing he has softened.
    • Vaughn Du Clark has trapped researchers in with Romero zombies when they've displayed doubts.
    • Mr. Boss has his hitmen killed if they're exposed so they can't turn on him.
    • Chase Graves shoots Justin Bell for taking confiscated Max Rager drinks for he and Liv to use on their date. As with the Blaine example, Justin was a zombie and could shake it off. He also kills one of Major's subordinates...while aiming for a different one of his subordinates.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • At the end of "Mr. Berserk". Max Rager is able to get away with their coverup of the psychotic breaks, and therefore can get away with two murders and who knows how many lives ruined by being unfairly treated for mental diseases they don't have. The thumb drive containing the only evidence against them is also lost. On the longer arc side of things, Blaine gets away with his murders in the first season because there's no possible way Liv and Ravi could explain everything concerning it without breaking the masquerade.
    • In "Eternal Sunshine of the Caffeinated Mind" the victim of the week is murdered by her own daughter, who emotionally manipulates her boyfriend into claiming full responsibility. The daughter takes her inheritance and leaves the country.
    • At the end of season 3 Carey Gold has released a deadly disease onto Seattle. Although she's executed, it's too late to stop her plan, and Chase Graves has to take the next step. Chase Graves himself counts, as he then proceeds to infect a large number of Seattlites with the zombie virus and then blackmails all of the United States into accepting them and providing them with brains, as well as putting down an ultimatum about zombie-related laws and law enforcement.
  • Bait the Dog: After the pilot paints a sinister picture of Blaine (including but not limited to the fact that he "turned" Liv on the boat), the friendly and disarming guy who turns up in the second episode makes Liv and the viewer question whether they misjudged him. He claims the first episode's events have forced him to seriously reevaluate his life, and he's changed his ways. However, it quickly becomes clear that despite his charming persona, he's only changed for the worse.
    • This happens again with his amnesia plotline; with the question often posed if Blaine is faking. Blaine ultimately reveals that while he did lose his memories, he feigned the duration of his memory loss. Though he made a genuine attempt to change his ways, he returns to his old ways until his father had him shot while trying to take over his business.
  • Bastard Boyfriend: While Blaine was nothing but affectionate towards Peyton and made a genuine attempt to change, their relationship was still born out of a lie.
  • Bathos: A scene in the pilot has Liv visit her ex-fiancé only to discover him with another woman; the fact that they're playing a zombie-killing video game adds a touch of Black Comedy.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted with Major. He gets beaten up three times over the course of the first season, and each time his wounds get worse and stay with him for the next few episodes. In the finale he's also locked in a freezer, and the effects of the frostbite are visible as his nose and extremities start to turn black. The only times we see Major unblemished are the first few episodes (since he hadn't started pissing people off yet) and the end of the finale (where Liv turned him into a zombie to save his life and heal his injuries).
    • Despite being zombies/undead and the accompanying hair and skin color change, attractive individuals such as Liv and Blaine remain attractive after being turned, so long as they take care of themselves and eat brains periodically. Despite being undead, they also seem to have a healing factor; one time, Major's multiple stab wounds healed overnight.
  • Becoming the Mask: Blaine in season three, after he regains his memories.
  • Berserk Button: For Clive, who turns out to be a huge Game of Thrones fan, anything related to George R.R. Martin. When Ravi finds out about this, he first probes by insulting him in Dothraki (which Clive appears to understand), and then asks him what George R. R. Martin is doing. Clive replies, exasperatedly, "Not writing!" It's revealed in a flashback that his neighbor's kid got him hooked on the show.
  • Beta Couple:
    • Clive and Dale Bozzio.
    • Peyton and Ravi, at least until A bitter and drunk Ravi sleeps with his former boss and Peyton catches them.
    • Peyton and the seemingly reformed Blaine, at least until Blaine's confession that he feigned the duration of his memory loss. Though he made a genuine attempt at reforming, Peyton cannot reconcile the fact he was willing to screw over her friends due to his own fear of rejection.
  • Betty and Veronica: Ravi, the Betty and Blaine, the Veronica; for Peyton's Archie.
  • Big Bad: Blaine in the first season.
    • Vaughn du Clark in the second season.
    • Harley Johns and his Zombie Truthers in the third season.
    • Chase Graves and Angus Mc Donough/Brother Love in the fourth season.
  • Bigger Bad:
    • Vaughn du Clark and the higher ups of Max Rager, as they try to cover up the fact their drink, mixed with the tainted boat party Utopium, was responsible for the zombie virus.
    • In season two it's Mr. Boss, the head of Seattle's organized crime.
    • It's less clear-cut in Season Three; though candidates include Blaine's father Angus, Chase Graves, and Carey Gold. Angus orders Don E. to increase the zombie population and forms a plan to distribute brains by partnering with Filmore-Graves. Blaine adopts his father's plan, but Chase Graves refuses his proposal to proceed with it. Ironically, Chase is forced to increase the zombie population himself; turning thousands of Seattle citizens after his confidante Carey Gold releases a bio-attack. Though Chase maintains he is not the enemy, the plot Carey Gold put into action was a contingency plan he personally came up with.
  • Birthday Episode: It is Liv's birthday in "Real Dead Housewife of Seattle".
  • Bi the Way:
    • The mistress mentioned in Ambiguously Bi seems to not mind and passionately holds Liv's hand.
    • Also, "Flight of the Living Dead" has Carson, who slept with most of his friends in his social circle, male and female.
    • In "Fifty Shades of Grey Matter", Liv is under the influence of a horny romance novelist's brain and asks Ravi and Major if they've ever wrestled without their clothes. Instead of a typical reaction, both play along and tell her they might consider it. Before leaving with Clive, she tells them that, if they do end up wrestling, they should record a video for her.
  • Big Guy: Blaine's henchmen Julien in season 1, and even moreso Chief in season 2. His stature is something both Major and Bozzio remark upon. This role is later filled by Angus's former hitman Dino, and then by Crybaby Carl after Dino betrays Blaine and releases Angus from the well.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Du Clarke's assistant/daughter Rita.
  • Black Boss Lady: The new lieutenant that replaces Lt. Suzuki in season 2.
  • Bollywood Nerd: Ravi, though Peyton says that he's a good combination between geek and confident.
  • Book Ends: Season One opens with Liv doing a impromptu emergency on a coding young man on the hospital. It ends in a hospital emergency room with an E.R. team racing to save her brother's life.
  • Boom, Headshot!: This is how Blaine tends to kill other zombies, usually when they have failed him. He also kills Lowell in this manner, when the latter attacks him. Justified, since shooting a zombie in any other body part has little or no effect, as Major demonstrates before he realizes he's up against zombies. In the season finale, Major offs several of Blaine's zombies this way.
    • Chase is aware of this tactic, as this is how he ultimately deals with the mutinous Fillmore Graves employees that tried to kill him. Since he knows this is the only way to kill a zombie, he generally expresses annoyance and anger at fellow zombies by gut-shooting them.
  • Brain Food: Naturally, being a show about a zombie. Liv needs to eat brains regularly in order to prevent herself from going "full zombie", i.e. turning into a mindless shambling monster.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Liv calls off her engagement to Major to keep him safe from her in case she ever Zombies Out, and the chance that he could become infected from intimate contact.
    • Done by Dale to Clive when she overhears him talking about wanting kids, which can never happen now that she's a zombie.
  • Break the Badass: Clive when Dale Bozzio leaves, and again when Wally is murdered.
    • Blaine in Season Three. Peyton leaves him when his lie is exposed, Don E. steals his clients, and his father Angus has him shot. It all culminates in him choosing to become a zombie again and returning to his old ways.
    • Bozzio in the third season finale, as she is turned into a zombie shortly after reconciling with Clive.
  • Break the Cutie: Liv after her own death.
    • To a lesser extent, Major. Liv leaving him plus the missing persons investigation kinda broke the guy. And after he finds out that she's a zombie.
    • Peyton after she saw her best friend in Full-Zombie mode. It broke her so much that she ran away.
  • Briar Patching: In one episode, Don E begs the thug sent to kill him to do it quickly with a headshot, claiming that he can't stand pain, while at the same time insulting the thug and getting him angry. Sure enough, the thug shoots him in the gut instead... which to a zombie like Don E isn't even painful, let alone fatal.
  • British Rock Star: Averted with Lowell in that he, while British and a musician, does not fit the typical example. He seems to be a genuinely nice guy who doesn't want to hurt anyone and doesn't seem to indulge in drugs and booze. His career suffers a bit after he becomes a zombie, as being on stage or doing anything dangerous or exciting has a chance of him going "full-on zombie", which he tries to avoid.
  • Broken Masquerade: At the end of the season 3 finale thousands of people are deliberately infected with the zombie-virus through a tainted vaccine. With no alternative, Liv has Johnny Frost break the masquerade on live television, informing the people of Seattle what's about to happen to many of them.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Peyton comes back in episode 3 of Season 2 after she disappeared when she discovered the truth about Liv in Season 1.
    • Blaine's father Angus is taken out of the Shady Plots freezer in the third season premiere, after having been frozen since the thirteenth episode of the second season.
    • Dale Bozzio appears midway through season 3 after leaving Clive at the end of season 2. She's back again, permanently, by the third season finale, thanks to being infected by the tainted vaccines and becoming a zombie.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Peyton reacts this way (using almost exactly the words of the trope) when Liv reveals that she is hallucinating Drake in "Return of the Dead Guy" since by that point she is used to Liv picking up the personality traits of the person whose brains she eats.
  • But Not Too White: Liv receives several comments on her extreme paleness being disconcerting, coupled with assumptions that she's emo or a goth. Of course, Liv is pale to the degree of an albino, having never been albino before...

    Tropes C-G 
  • Came Back Wrong: Using the zombieism cure has side effects. Major and Blaine can sense if another person is a zombie. In the very last scene of the first half of Season 2, Ravi reveals (in a voiceover) that the zombie cure is only temporary and that Blaine and Major will revert back to being zombies soon. Even worse is that they would perish shortly after.
    • A second version of the cure also has a side effect of almost total memory loss, as Blaine finds out after he becomes a zombie again. Subverted partway through season three, when it turns out the amnesia lasts one or two days, and then all the lost memories return.
  • Canada, Eh?: Liv's first major flashback is absurdly Canadian.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Blaine does this in episode thirteen of Season Two, calling his father out for his past neglect, and the fact he included Blaine's abusive childhood nanny in his estate while having Blaine himself written out by stipulation.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: Liv temporarily picks up skills and traits by eating the victims' brains. Sometimes this is a double-edged sword, like when she ate a former soldier's brain and got his combat skills along with his PTSD.
  • Catchphrase: Blaine frequently refers to zombies as 'Team Z', which Liv initially mocks him for. None the less, the cast has been referred to as such in episode promos.
  • Caught on Tape: After a mental hospital patient appears to commit suicide, Liv finds out that he was at the boat party (as one of the Utopium dealers) and has recorded the outbreak on his cell phone. Determined to get the phone to keep it out of the public's eye, Liv manages to find it and watch the video. To her horror, she also finds out that the guy recorded her eating some corpse's brain and may have sent the video to a friend at the TV studio.
  • Celebrity Cameo:
    • Kristen Bell, who starred in Rob Thomas's previous show Veronica Mars, did a voice cameo by providing the narration for an In-Universe erotic novel. Liv even says that she relates to Kristen Bell on so many levels.
    • The other Rob Thomas puts in an appearance in "Salivation Army."
    • Paul Rudd also did a voice cameo narrating the Zombie documentary on season 4's "And he shall be a good man"
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Max Rager energy drink. At first it's simply background for the victim of the week in "Flight of the Living Dead", but a throwaway line about reports of its drinkers going psychotic later ties into the Utopium plot to show that an ingredient is also responsible for the zombie virus.
    • The application Eva gets for Evan to work at Meat Cute. She grabs it at the end of "Virtual Reality Bites", and briefly brings it up in the next episode. After that it's never mentioned, and easily forgotten due to the amount of Wham moments that occur between then and the finale. Then in the last two episodes, Evan hands in the application and is subsequently hired, and shows up for his first shift just in time for the deli to explode and seriously injure him.
    • Chekhov's grenade in the season 1 finale. And then again in the season 2 finale.
    • The first time Major buys a gun and hides it in his dresser, a copy of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya is visible on top of the dresser as a Visual Pun.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Clive claims this about Ravi's acting abilities.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: Fillmore-Graves' preferred method of zombie execution is an anvil guillotine.
  • Closet Geek: Clive discovers he really enjoys D&D. A season 4 episode shows he's still playing covertly, and as dungeon master, no less.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: Ravi convinces a reluctant Liv to classify the death of Lowell as a suicide. She does this because Blaine killed him. Classifying it as the murder it is would mean the police would have to deal with zombies, which they were not prepared for.
  • Cowboy Cop: Lou Bonadetto, arguably. As Clive points out, his program of busting small time college drug dealers and getting them to become confidential informants to bust in turn 6 more drug dealers is totally illegal without the approval of a judge, not to mention that it gets one of the CIs killed and another one uses the program as a way of getting rid of his competition.
  • The Cracker: One of the victims-of-the-week is a trolling hacker, who likes to ruin people's lives either due to misapplied blame or even for things that person is not responsible for. For example, he ruins the business of a startup donut shop for using oil that was (unbeknownst to them) contaminated with peanut oil (he was allergic). He then goes off on a customer service person for being kept on hold for 45 minutes (which wasn't even her fault) and proceeds to utterly destroy her life (she then commits suicide, causing her brother to seek revenge). Frankly, it's hard to feel bad for the hacker, since he's obviously an Asshole Victim (among other things, he hacked databases to add her to sex offender registries). Liv temporarily gains his Hollywood Hacking and MMORPG gaming abilities for the duration of the episode.
  • Cry for the Devil: Blaine, when we learn of his childhood abuse.
  • Curse That Cures: Liv infects Major at the end of Season One to bring him back to "life". He tells her he'd rather be dead, so she injects him with the remains of the untested cure. Also, after Blaine is shot in the gut and left for dead, he finds another zombie and forces him to scratch him.
    • This is discussed multiple times throughout the show, and is used multiple times during the season 3 finale saving the life of several patients who were sick with the deadly influenza.
    • This is one of the driving tropes behind the human smuggling plot in season 4, with humans being voluntarily scratched in order to cure their terminal illnesses.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Liv has Super Strength, immunity to pain, and can survive being shot. She can also have a conversation while having open heart surgery with no anesthesia. On the other hand, she can't taste food anymore unless it's smothered in hot sauce, and nothing but human brains will satisfy her when she's hungry. She also can't be with anyone human for fear of accidentally turning him (sex or even a single scratch is enough). Much of her Character Development seems to be about getting her out of seeing herself as "cursed" and accepting her zombie-ness as something that can be used for a good cause. It helps that she meets male zombies that she can date.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Liv, thanks to Rose McIver having one in real life.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Liv, who aside from her pale skin and occasionally her eyes is very attractive indeed.
  • Dark Action Girl: Even when not going "Full-on Zombie Mode", Liv can more than handle herself if someone tries to attack her.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Liv's a zombie who helps people.
  • Darker and Edgier: Despite sharing the similar snarkness and black humor, it's way darker and more mature than Veronica Mars, Rob Thomas' previous series.
    • It could actually be considered Lighter and Softer than Veronica Mars, since Veronica Mars tends to deal with more serious, real-life issues like rape and suicide, all wrapped up in a very bleak noir spin on the teen genre.
      • For example, both series' basic plot revolves around the main character becoming an investigator after traumatic events happen to them at a party. They solve crime while eventually discovering the truth about what really happened to them. For Veronica Mars, the trauma was being date-raped multiple times and is definitely played for serious emotional drama. For Liv Moore, the trauma was a full-blown, but short-lived zombie outbreak on a boat, which killed her and raised her as an undead zombie with the need to eat human brains lest she go violently insane and mindlessly attack people. ...which is mostly played for laughs, with a tiny bit of pathos.
  • Dead Artists Are Better: Pointed out in "Brother, Can You Spare A Brain?". The paintings made by the Victim of the Week triple in value after his death and a patron even says that the best thing an artist can do for their career is die.
  • The Dead Can Dance: Referenced, as Liv embraces being a zombie for a charity haunted house. She even jokes with her friends, who don't know that she's really a zombie, about how zombies are the best dancers.
    • And then played out when Liv and Lowell do their awesome dorky living room dance together. Unfortunately not lampshaded.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Detective Babineaux. When Liv tells him she's psychic, he calls her Miss Cleo. Especially during interrogations. Sometimes with just his eyes.
    Babineaux: Thank you, Detective Moore.
    • Liv is no slouch either, especially after eating the brains of an extremely snarky teenager.
    • Honestly, the entire cast is a revolving door of deadpan snarkers.
  • Death by Cameo: Rob Thomas (the musician, not the series creator) appears in the second season finale As Himself, as part of the band hired to play for the Max Rager private staff party, who is then killed by zombies before being eaten by Vivian and the Fillmore Graves Mercs.
  • Death of Personality:
    • Liv after she is initially turned. She admits it to herself by saying she used to be driven, but that she now has 'post traumatic ennui'.
    • Blaine, to a degree. After injecting himself with the second attempt at a cure, he loses his memory. As a retrograde amnesiac he retains his wit, and his proficiency with firearms. However he is horrified to learn of his past crimes, and allows himself to be ordered around by former henchmen Don E and Chief. It's revealed the true duration of this amnesia was brief; though it gave him the idea to try and change his life/how people viewed him by feigning its continued duration.
  • Descent into Addiction: Major, due to the stress of being a Max Rager hitman and his renewed feelings for Liv.
  • Deus ex Machina: Lampshaded. As Mr. Boss is preparing to execute Blaine for cutting in on his business, he says that when he was a Killer Game Master for Dungeons & Dragons, he would always give dying players one last Hail Mary chance to receive a miracle from their gods. This sets up the fact that Blaine coincidentally reverted to zombie form less than an hour before Mister Boss slit his throat.
  • Did Not Think This Through: In Season 4 Fillmore-Graves had the plan of blackmailing the United States for brains. Their entire plan consisted of threatening them with a huge number of zombies creating a potential outbreak. Instead of ceding to their demands, the United States government Took a Third Option and walled off the city. This means they had a massive increase in the number of zombies and no way to feed them.
  • Diegetic Switch: "Der Kommissar" starts playing on the Meat Cute jukebox while Blaine's lackeys have dinner, and continues in the background as Major escapes, then returns with his shotgun and grenade to lay waste to the staff and the shop. It keeps going until Blaine shows up, at which point it becomes diegetic again and he and switches the jukebox off.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Vaughn Du Clark turns out to be this, as he gets killed at the end of season 2, while a new Big Bad with a grander scheme takes his place.
  • Dirty Cop:
    • The killer in the pilot turns out to be a detective in Clive's department, who has cheated with two call girls and kills one after his wedding ring goes missing.
    • Subverted with Clive in "Liv and Let Clive". Liv gets a vision that makes it appear like this, but he was actually undercover.
    • Clive's boss is a zombie, and he's covering up the disappearances of homeless people for Blaine. In "Maternity Liv" he murders a pair of kidnappers so he can frame them for the disappearances. The next episode shows, however, that he is only doing it for access to brains as he has no other options. He's tired of having to cover things up as Blaine is getting sloppy with leaving so many bodies around.
    • The ones who arrange for Major to be beaten up while in custody, all because he indirectly helped a reporter get a quote that made them look bad, certainly qualify.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The zombie virus is some new kind of super-plague which is spread through direct fluid contact, including sex. Liv is afraid to tell anyone she is infected because of the prejudice she would face as a dangerous plague-carrier. It causes people infected with it to physically deteriorate and look more pale and corpse-like - unless they can stave off the progression by eating brains. Replace "brains" with "anti-viral drugs", and it sounds a bit like HIV (although being a zombie is not fatal if untreated).
    • In the second episode, despite professing to be a different person than the junkie he was in life, the way in which Blaine requests that Liv hook him up with a supply of brains sounds exactly like how a junkie would beg for drugs/money to buy drugs.
    • The way that Liv acquires the personality of the brains she eats has a strong resemblance to mental illness (especially since a lot of the people she eats are in fact mentally ill). The way she always knows that her thoughts and feelings aren't "real" but is still incapable of dismissing them would feel familiar to anyone who's ever suffered from depression or similar disorders. The argument she has with Major in season two - where she keeps flipping between wanting her "false" feelings recognised as valid, since she is in fact experiencing them, and wanting him to not blame her for having them, since she can't stop herself from having them - is one that many people suffering from compulsive thoughts or feelings, and the friends and family of such people, will find all too familiar.
    • Teens being thrown out of their homes for being zombie? A zombie describing himself as "an in the closet zombie"? Sounds a lot like the stories of LGBT teens.
  • The Dragon: Julian, aka The Candyman, Blaine's most faithful employee.
    • Rita, Du Clarke's assistant and daughter.
    • There's also Janko, Du Clarke's head of security at Max Rager.
  • The Dreaded: Mr. Boss, head of Seattle's organized crime. He's scary enough that nobody wants to help take him down, even if they would get off scot-free, because they're that certain that he'll have them killed soon after.
  • Eat Brain for Memories: Zombies acquire the memories from the brains they eat, including skills and inclinations, like a high libido, kleptomania, and painting. Liv uses it to help with investigations.
  • Eat the Rich: In season 2, when Major is coerced by Max Rager into becoming a zombie hunter due to the zombie-sensing powers he gained from being cured of his zombieism, he creates the persona of the Chaos Killer, an Occupy Wall Street-inspired Serial Killer who's targeting Seattle's wealthy, in order to throw off suspicion from the true aim of his activities.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: Before Ravi finds out Liv's a zombie. Tasty ramen, pepper sauce and bits of brains. Yummy.
  • The Eeyore: To hear her family tell it, Liv was fairly mopey after her zombification. Realizing she can help people snaps her out of it.
  • Elite Zombie: Liv and all the other smart zombies. They're fast, they can think strategically, they can use guns, and they can pass themselves off as regular humans pretty easily. See Our Zombies Are Different.
  • Emergency Transformation: In the season one finale, Liv scratches Major after he's stabbed by Blaine for shooting up the deli. He is immediately pissed about it, since not only is he disgusted by what he's become but he feels like Liv once again took control of his life without his consent. Ultimately subverted in his case, as Liv takes his words to heart and gives him the possible cure in the hopes of healing him. After all that, however, Liv is called to the hospital after her brother is caught in the explosion at the deli caused by Suzuki and told that she's the only person available for a blood transfusion to save his life. She refuses this time.
    • Discussed in "Salivation Army" when Clive, Major and Liv are trapped by a horde of raged-out zombies. The zombies only want human brains, so Liv suggests turning Clive to take him off the menu. He refuses, and the problem is solved when Vivienne Stoll takes out the horde with a machine gun.
  • Enemy Mine: Blaine, whenever the team is forced to work with him.
  • Enhance Button: Robinette uses one in the Season 2 premiere to analyze the suspect's shoes. That would be impossible in Real Life, considering that the camera was low-resolution.
  • Erotic Eating: Invoked by Blaine in episode 3. He walks in on Liv licking brains off of a spoon, and comments that she looks sexy and that there's a similar pose in the latest issue of "Zombie Playboy".
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Blaine seems to have genuinely loved his grandfather, who raised him until his father had him committed to take over his business. Especially considering his tears after smothering him with a pillow. It's implied in "Eat A Knievel" that he also cared for his mother, who was as abused as him by his father.
    • He also appears sincerely heartbroken over losing Peyton. Despite his sense of self preservation, he previously risked his own life to save hers.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Blaine resents his father for not doing more to prevent his mother's suicide, for which she used his pistol. He also accuses him of having psychologically abused her. Angus mocks his love for her by joking that he had an Oedipus complex.
  • Everyone Knew Already: In the pilot, Ravi catches Liv eating brains and comments that he has so many questions, starting with whether using hotsauce is a "zombie thing". Turns out that he had been suspicious of Liv for a while, especially after finding out she was a survivor of the boat incident, and had noticed that brains were missing from the morgue's "clients".
  • Evil All Along:
    • Carey Gold turns out to be the Big Bad of season 3, being responsible for the outbreak of Aleutian Flu and behind the Tuttle-Reid murders as well as Vivian's death in an attempt to cancel the Zombie Island plan and move to Plan B: cause a massive increase on the amount of zombies in Seattle by tainting the vaccine with zombie blood..
    • Her daughter, Patrice and her friend, Tatum, turn out to be firmly on her side of the zombie issues as well. Patrice kills Katty and later, when Liv finds out about it, they team up to kill her, stating that she is on the humans' side.
  • Evil Chef: One works in Blaine's butcher shop, trying to come up with tasty dishes with brains. She is unbothered by Blaine's practice of murdering people to get those brains, and stands ready to murder Clive herself when he comes poking around. When Major goes "zombie hunter" on the shop, she manages to convince him that she's innocent, before trying to stab him with a butcher knife. He dodges out of the way and she goes headfirst into the same saw they use to cut open people's heads.
  • Evil Counterpart: Blaine to Liv.
  • Eye Colour Change: Zombies in "Full-Zombie" Mode get red eyes surrounded by black. Early on, Ravi also comments how all zombies seem to have blue eyes.
  • Eye Recall: How Liv's visions from eating brains are shown to the viewer.
  • Faking Amnesia: Everyone initially believes Blaine guilty of this when he loses his memory in Season Two. Ironically it's revealed he truly did lose his memories for a brief time, and feigned continued amnesia in an attempt to change his life and how people viewed him.
  • Family Theme Naming: The three members of the Moore family all have V's in their name, Olivia, Eva, and Evan.
  • Faux Affably Evil:
    • Blaine presents himself like a pretty chill guy, with a quirky way of speaking and a charming attitude. Yet he commits despicable acts such as intentionally turning rich people into zombies, extorting them for brains they need to survive, and initially kills homeless teens for his brain supply.
    • Mr. Boss is the most powerful mobster in Seattle. He's constantly smiling and even charming, but in reality utterly ruthless and sadistic.
    • Carey Gold plays the part of Vivian and Chase's mild mannered confidant, while staging a coup within Fillmore-Graves and plotting a bio-attack on Seattle.
  • Feels No Pain: Zombies have a numbed sense of pain, but some more or less than others; it's still unclear what exactly influences it. Blaine seems to be the most pain resistant zombie, at one point, after being shot in the neck twice, he barely even flinches and just turns around and shoots the guy. Meanwhile, his father has a hand incapacitated when shot in the hand. Granted, the hand has a gaping hole in it, such that he may be physically unable to flex his fingers no matter how little it hurts.
  • Fire-Breathing Diner: The only way zombies can have at least some taste of real food.
  • First Episode Resurrection: Liv in the pilot. Not really a resurrection, but still not dead.
  • First-Person Smartass: Liv's undeath hasn't affected her snark.
  • Food Porn: Liv gets really creative with how to eat brains, making some very tasty-looking nachos, stir fry, and fried dumplings. Often, but not always, thematically related to the brains in question.
    • Lampshaded in season 4, when she just grabs the brain and bites into it. Ravi looks at her and she just shrugs and says "Sometimes I'm just hungry."
  • Foreshadowing: In "Salivation Army", Vaughn Du Clark says that the soldier in a submarine movie who closes the hatch on his fellow soldiers to save the world is a hero. He dies when Major closes an elevator hatch on him (while specifically reminding him of this), leaving him to be killed by two Romeros and Rita.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Blaine in the first half of Season Three, when it's believed his amnesia was lasting. Peyton develops feelings for him in spite of his past crimes. Even Major empathizes with his not wanting to remember. Ravi brings up Blaine's crimes in the same scene; clearly not forgetting and questioning if he has actually earned forgiveness.
  • Freakiness Shame: Liv had isolated herself from others after becoming a zombie, but feels a lot better after Ravi reveals that he knew about her "condition" for a while, finds it very cool, and hopes to help her find a cure.
  • Friendly Enemy: Blaine with Liv after she cures him. Liv still hates him, but the two will banter together and can work together when necessary, to the point where she and Clive enlist his help on a case in the third season.
  • Fully-Embraced Fiend: In contrast with Liv, who is a Friendly Neighborhood Zombie, Blaine is even more amoral and manipulative than he was when alive.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • Played with. Liv begins buying zombie DVDs and games in an effort to grasp her condition and its limitations.
    • Clive maintains that he would be this in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • One of the chapters of the "Patriot Brains" episode is called "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot", which stands for "WTF" in the NATO phonetic alphabet.
    • In "The Hurt Stalker", Liv has this to say about the victim's fetish for cops: "So it seems Regina took N.W.A.'s biggest hit literally." The hit in question is "Fuck the Police."
  • Glad I Thought of It: Lowell lies to Liv, stating he gets his brains from a mortician, when he is in fact a client of Blaine's. In the second season, Blaine ironically moves his business to a funeral home and no longer kills to obtain his product.
    • Don E. initially suggests Blaine is feigning memory loss in part so that he can rekindle his romance with Peyton. He later decides to do just this, though it wasn't his intention at the time — his amnesia is initially genuine, and though Blaine wanted to change his life/how people views him, at the time of Don E.'s suggestion Peyton was holding him at arm's length. She even states Blaine's feelings were unreciprocated, even after he rescues her.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Angus's time in the well does this, which causes him to mistake Blaine's voice and brain supplies as those of God. When he gets out, he reinvents himself as Brother Love.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Liv has some healing factor — she can survive a gunshot to the heart and heals very fast.
    • Unfortunately, so can the bad-guy zombies.
    • Averted also as the traditional zombie Achilles heel — being shot in the head — is also a factor.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The show usually uses this trope whenever a violent death is portrayed, especially since Pretty Little Headshots is averted here. In one scene, where Major sneaks up on a zombie with a shotgun, the camera visibly shifts to the side, so we only see something dark splash the wall after the gunshot.
    • Three named characters are dispatched using Fillmore-Graves' anvil guillotine, with barely a hint of blood. Reaction Shots are frequent.
  • Go-to Alias: Blaine uses "John Deaux" a few times. At the beginning of season 2, Liv and Ravi figure out that he's running a new funeral home because they recognize it as his alias. It's eventually revealed that his name "Blaine Debeers" is an alias itself, and his true surname is McDonough.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: While Blaine profits off the zombie outbreak and turned his initial clients, it's later revealed he was not responsible for the outbreak at the boat party. It's also later revealed that he was simply a victim who decided to profit off his condition, as he didn't even cut the boat party Utopium himself. In reality, it was made by an acquaintance of Don E.'s named Gabriel; and his formula mixed with the Max Rager energy drink was what caused the outbreak. Though Max Rager didn't know of their product's side effects nor outbreak initially, they quickly use both to their advantage.
    • Filmore-Graves turns thousands of Seattle citizens into zombies via a tainted vaccine in the third season finale. Though Blaine profits off of this, he himself personally had nothing to do with either circumstance.
  • Guns Are Useless: Against the zombies, unless you aim for the head.

    Tropes H-O 
  • Half-Arc Season: Each episode revolves primarily around the Victim of the Week's murder, with a significant thread running through each season (Blaine's brain dealing business in season one, Max Rager hunting zombies in season two). However, the showrunners appear to be playing a longer game, in that major arcs are woven together more naturally, allowing each one to segue into the next, so that you don't get a single story per season.
  • Healing Factor: Liv displays this in the first episode, after being shot in the chest by the corrupt Detective Pratt. Her ability to Walk It Off after getting shot in the leg leads to Suzuki's realization that she's a zombie. Blaine's ability to Walk It Off makes for a reveal at the end of episode fourteen of season two, when he is revealed to have reverted to being a zombie after having his throat slashed by Mr. Boss.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Clive when Bozzio leaves him, and again when Wally's family is killed.
    • After Peyton leaves him in season three, Blaine spends an entire episode drunkenly moping about.
  • Helpful Hallucination: After eating the brain of a mentally ill person who kept claiming to have been stalked by The Devil, Liv starts seeing hallucinations as well. She spends half the episode working with a weatherman, who claims that the deceased was his pot dealer. Liv finally realizes the truth when she sees the real weatherman on TV. Not only does her hallucination help her find clues in the dead guy's apartment, but he also secretly provides her with the unlock code for the guy's phone. She also realizes that the Major she's finally revealed the truth to is also a hallucination.
  • Hello, Attorney!: Peyton, to the observation of many.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Blaine in Season Two, after becoming an amnesiac. He is horrified to learn of his past crimes; and later seeks to aid Liv and puts himself in danger to save Peyton. This skirts the Death of Personality trope, as Blaine still retains his wit; and his proficiency with firearms, implying retrograde amnesia. This is confirmed in the third season, and the character remains a hero for the first half the season. He later confesses he feigned the true duration of his memory loss in attempt to change his life and how people viewed him. He returns to his old ways after Peyton leaves him (his deception precluded Major and Liv from being cured), and by season 4 he's casually murdering people for his own financial gain again.
  • Helicopter Blender: A corporate assassin tries to dispose of Liv by throwing her into a lake tied to a heavy brick. Liv knocks him overboard with the same brick and then engages the boat's motor, followed by the guy's screams and the water becoming red. The Stinger shows the guy washing ashore and getting up, with his face all cut up by the motor, since, before being knocked overboard, he tasted some of Liv's blood, not realizing her zombie nature.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: This was actually Gilda's (Rita's) plan for manipulating Major; by forming a relationship with him, she can convince him that he's doing a heroic duty by slaughtering the zombies or "donating" them to depraved research.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Major and Ravi. Blaine and Don E. The latter to the point Blaine offers Don a partnership after he betrayed him, despite killing other henchman in the first season for attempting to start their own business.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Chase Graves is killed with the guillotine he had already ordered used on two other characters.
  • Hollywood Darkness: During Blaine's attack on Mr. Boss' HQ, in the Season 2 finale, he cuts the power. Although the episode makes it seem like Blaine really needs a pair of night vision goggles to see and no one else can see him, when he takes them off he is very clearly illuminated by a light in the hall.
  • Hollywood Law: The show has gotten flak for a number of Hollywood Law moments, particularly Liv investigating the case, and interviewing suspects, despite her lack of legal authority, Clive's tendency to make Empty Cop Threat, and the lack of lawyers being present during most interrogation scenes.
    • In the eighth episode of the first season, Peyton, who works for the DA's office, gets Major out of jail by telling one of the officers that, because the paperwork had not been time-stamped, continuing to hold Major would violate "habeas corpus statutes." There actually are federal statutes relating to the writ of habeas corpus, but habeas corpus itself is a common-law writ, not a statute. Also, simply failing to stamp a form would not violate the writ. Habeas corpus would allow Major to petition a court to require the police to show that they have valid cause to hold him. It would not require his immediate release. Justified in this case, however, because Peyton was actually just fast-talking the officer to get Major, her friend, out of jail.
    • Season two episode "The Whopper" has Blaine's father's will revealed to be a video will. Video wills are invalid and will not be probated. Under Washington state's statute of wills, all wills have to be in writing; Washington, like a few other states, does allow nuncupative wills in limited circumstances, but no more than a thousand dollars can be disposed of by nuncupative will, not the millions seen here, and, in any case, the video will here still did not comply with the requirements for nuncupative wills. Justified in this instance, as Angus was seen reading from the official notarized will in the video. It's likely the video was simply a companion he had made to be played at the reading. Given Angus' character, it's likely he had a video will made so that he could personally inform Blaine of his inheritance/potential lack thereof.
  • Horror Hunger: Well, it's a show about zombies. Fortunately, the sympathetic protagonist was able to use her degree to get a job as a medical examiner, so she has a reliable source of brains without having to hurt anyone. Other zombies aren't so lucky. When Sebastian returns as a zombie, he tells Liv how he was visiting his Aunt Edna and she accidentally cut her forehead, and when she asked him to bandage it up he couldn't help himself and was compelled to eat her brain. That being said, considering that he's a Psycho for Hire, Liv doesn't buy it.
    Liv: Funny, I've never eaten someone I didn't want to.
  • Human Popsicle: One of the benefits of being a zombie is that they can be frozen and later thawed without any preparation or difficulty. When Blaine takes over the gangs in the first season, he keeps spare thugs in the freezer. In the second season Major freezes the zombies on his hitlist while they work on a cure, rather than killing them like Max Rager wants.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: A majority of Blaine's clients were turned by him so that he could extort them by providing brains. While some come to enjoy their zombie status, few actually like him, and only put up with him in order to stay fed.
    • Major is turned by Liv in the season 1 finale, and is rather pissed about it. He points out that her reasons for saving him were incredibly selfish, especially on top of all the other lying and gaslighting that she'd done to him over the course of the season.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Life after death, itself.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Lowell dies because Liv didn't kill Blaine when she had the chance.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Blaine in "Cape Town": "I'm a brain dealer, not a doctor!" This is also an inside joke, as David Anders also portrays Dr. Whale/Victor Frankenstein on Once Upon a Time.
  • The Infiltration: Drake turns out to be an undercover cop, sent to infiltrate Mr. Boss's organization. He keeps what he knows about Blaine from his colleagues in order to retain his brain source.
  • Indecisive Medium: Some scenes start with captioned comic book panels, transitioning to live action.
  • In-Name-Only: The only things this has in common with the original comic book is the title and that the main character, who even has a different name, has to eat brains to maintain her humanity and gets memory flashbacks from doing so. It omits her best friends Ellie the ghost and Scott the were-terrier, and other supernaturals like the vampire sorority and the Dead Presidents.
  • Instant Expert: When Liv, or any zombie, eats brains, they near-instantly have domain of the victim's skill.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Major walks in on his latest target, Natalie, ironically just as she's about to shoot herself. He stops her, learning she's an ex-high class call girl who Blaine turned and extorted into accepting his clients as her own, due to needing brains. Major ultimately freezes her with her consent, either to revive her once a cure is discovered or, ultimately, kill her permanently. Her freedom is bought from Max Rager by one Osborn Oates, who keeps her as a sex slave before she is ultimately cured and escapes. In a tragic twist of irony, she is killed in Harley John's own suicide bombing.
  • Isn't It Ironic?:
    • Blaine initially turned his clients intentionally for profit. Liv, the protagonist, is the one character he didn't intentionally turn (he was both high and in full on zombie model) and the only one who doesn't need to turn to him for her brain supply.
    • Liv initially holds a grudge against Blaine for turning her into a zombie, though later on her animosity is mostly in regards to his body count. In the Season Two finale it's revealed that the zombie outbreak is caused by mixing Max Rager with the tainted Utopium from the boat party. Blaine was on Utopium when he first met Liv, and she threw her drink in his face when he sexually harassed her. The tablecloths at the boat party bear the Max Rager logo, implying it was the drink Liv had thrown into Blaine's face... thus she is the one who initially turned him into a zombie.
  • Joker Immunity: Blaine, even when he reverts to human status.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: The stresses of leadership, law enforcement, and the very strange politics of New Seattle take their toll on Chase Graves.
  • Karma Houdini: Cher in "Eternal Sunshine on the Caffeinated Mind". She arranges for her mother to get killed, had her boyfriend take the entire fall for it, then sells the business so that she can go off to Paris as she always wanted.
  • Killed Off for Real: Lowell in season 1, and Drake in season 2; though the latter returns in season 3 as a hallucination, he remains deceased.
    • Season 3 subverts the developing pattern of killing off Liv's boyfriend of the season, with Justin alive and well as of the finale, albeit on poor terms with Liv. Levon in season 4 isn't so lucky.
    • The Show Within a Show "Zombie High" had this come up as one of the stars was actually shot rather than just a stage shooting.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: Blaine decides to smother his catatonic grandfather to put him out of his misery, and so he can give his brains to his father as a sort of twisted revenge.
    • Liv is forced to kill Drake once he is turned into a Romero.
  • Last-Name Basis: Everyone at the police station simply calls Clive by his surname. Clive himself simply calls Dale Bozzio by her surname most of the time, in spite of their intimate relationship.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: After taking the second cure, Blaine loses a majority of his memories. He seems to regret his previous actions and is trying to be a better person. It's later subverted when he turns out to have only had it for a few days after taking the cure - everything afterwards is just an act, though he was trying to be a better person. He later seems to have reverted to his old ways, minus the indiscriminate killing.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the pilot, one of the suspects of the week is a weatherman from Channel 11. In Seattle, where the show is set, Channel 11 is The CW, the network that airs iZombie.
    • After several episodes keeping Liv's Punny Name subtle, Lowell puts it together and asks, "Liv Moore...Do you?"
    • "Blaine's World" features a Fight Scene with appropriate loud music, which is not only played in story but announced by characters why it's being turned on just before and turned off just after.
    • In "Real Dead Housewife of Seattle" Liv's voiceover monologue about moving on is cut off mid-word by her phone ringing.
    • A lot of the discussion about the filming of "Zombie High" could double as comments about the show, such as how it's not filmed on location for "tax credit" and how it would be interesting to have a zombie lead character.
    • When showing an advertisement for Super Max, Vincent said the background music was written by Rob Thomas.
      Man, that guy can write anything and make it sound good.
    • In season 4, Ravi complains that this is the episode where "They ran out of money and just tell you about the action instead of showing it." Then immediately cuts to Clive telling Liv about his epic showdown with the murder suspect (this continues throughout the episode, where all of Clive's escapades are off screen)
  • Le Parkour: In "Fifty Shades of Grey Matter", Major takes a gulp of Max Rager's new energy drink and goes for a run to try to get to his dog before Clive. He's shown to be performing parkour moves on the way.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Isobel. She's even immune to the zombie virus, leaving her essentially hopeless.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Angus is perfectly happy with his zombie status, even if he hates being under his son's thumb. He thinks immortality suits him.
  • Locked into Strangeness: The first sign of zombie infection is a streak of white hair on the victim. Over time, their hair becomes fully white and their skin turns pale. However, spray tans and hair dye can be used to make themselves look normal.
  • Love at First Sight: Played with. Lowell is powerfully drawn to Liv the moment he sees her and almost immediately starts pursuing a relationship with her (he asks her if she has a boyfriend while she's interrogating him as a murder suspect). However, he admits at the end of the episode that while seeing her was a powerful moment for him and he is genuinely attracted to her, part of it was also recognizing her as a fellow zombie and realizing that this complete stranger he'd just locked eyes with was the only person he knew of with whom he could have a proper relationship. He acknowledges that they barely know each other and might not even like each other, but he still wants to give it a shot (Fortunately, they turn out to be quite compatible).
    Lowell: So here's the speech. The zombie thing is a bitch. Your world shrivels down to a dot, you know this, and all you think about is how to get your next meal, and keeping your secret. And no one can really know you, now. Kissing, touching, sex, love, yelling at someone for stealing the blankets, out of the question. Forever. But then one day I see this beautiful woman. She's the only thing in color. Odd, 'cause she's so pale. And then there's hope again. That's all I'm saying. Who knows if we'll even like each other. But I like everything I've seen so far, and... what have we got to lose?
  • Love Hurts: Liv had to leave her fiancee after her own death. She still loved him, and he still loved her, but she didn't want to risk infecting him. She also couldn't tell him the truth. Ouch.
  • Love Triangle: Peyton finds herself in one with Blaine and Ravi.
  • Madeof Iron: Both in the first season finale, and midway through the third season, Blaine suffers gunshot wounds while human. Despite bleeding out he's unphased manages to get himself treatment, be it at a vet's office or having another zombie scratch him.
  • Male Gaze: Liv looks at a girl's ass while on frat boy brains.
  • Masquerade: Almost a parody of the more traditional vampire masquerade: Liv uses a lot of bronzer and still comes off looking very pale (though she gets a bit more color to her skin if she's fed recently, by the time she needs to feed again her skin has turned chalk white). Blaine and his new rich lady friend are better at it because they have a professional quality stylist who gives them a thorough dye job for their skin and hair. Liv apparently doesn't dye her hair because she can't even get her skin that colorful, so dyeing it would only make it stand out more. Lowell looks completely normal, although he claims to have some streaks of white that occasionally come through. Clive's boss also looks normal. \In season 2, it's revealed that this masquerade comes with a downside - Max Rager are able to track down hundreds of likely zombies based on repeated credit card purchases for fake tanning, hair dye and hot sauce.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Blaine is a character whom you both love to hate and hate to love; though the cast and crew maintain David Anders to be one of the most charming and funny among them.
  • Meaningful Name: Liv Moore is a zombie who, for months after her transformation, cut herself off from her normal life.
    • Major Lilywhite, who is a painfully stereotypical whitebread yuppie (initially), before later becoming a zombie himself.
    • Blaine's his name, brains are his game. His birth name, Blaine McDonough, is also a reference to the character of the same name from the film Pretty in Pink, albeit with a different spelling. Both characters come from wealth. Bozzio reveals that his adopted surname 'DeBeers' was something he picked up selling alcohol to minors along with his friend, "Julien DeWeed".
    • Stacey Boss is in fact, Seattle's most notorious crime boss.
    • A. K. Fortesan's name suggests "AK-47".
  • invoked Method Acting: In the appropriate titled episode "Method Head", the murder victim is a TV actor known for this type of acting. After eating his brain, Liv temporarily gains this characteristic. When being asked to practice a scene with another actor, Liv really gets into the role and even slaps the guy. When the guy points out that the slap isn't in the script, she tells him that it "felt right".
  • Medical Rape and Impregnate: Inverted with Scott E and his medical supervisor, who forced Scott to have sex with her so she'd get pregnant. When Scott's delusions and paranoia reach a head and he tries to force her to get an abortion, she kills him.
  • Mercy Kill:
    • Although he did intend to feed his father the brains, killing his grandfather can be interpreted this way given his vegetative state.
    • Liv's murder of the Romero Drake can also be considered this, even though she killed him to protect Clive.
  • The Mole: Drake, within Mr. Boss' organization. For both the police, and later Blaine.
  • Moment Killer: An epic one in Max Wager. Liv and Major have finally reconciled and are about to re-consummate their relationship, with Major wearing a condom just in case after some prodding from Liv. Cue Ravi bursting into their room and warning them that sex will infect Major and that the virus can penetrate any kind of condom.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: Due her zombieism, Liv can handle herself better than any man among the main cast.
  • My Beloved Smother: Liv's mother is the sort of mom who wants to run her daughter's life. Her little brother later says that their mother berated him for getting straight A's except for two B's in school.
    Liv: [voiceover] So "you are what you eat" isn't just a bitchy thing my mother says about fat people.
  • Mysterious Informant: In "Method Head", Major is approached by a scientist, who is studying the zombie phenomenon for Max Rager. He tells him that he's planning on exposing the company and the existence of zombies and hands him a flash drive with all his notes, in case he disappears like the other scientists before him. Realizing that The Masquerade needs to be maintained, Major goes to Vaughn du Clarke with the drive. Vaughn brings Major to the lab and locks the scientist in a room with hungry "Romero" zombies... before letting him out. It was all a Secret Test of Character for Major.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The amnesiac Blaine's reaction when Ravi informs him of all his past crimes.
  • Mystical White Hair/White Hair, Black Heart: Played with. Liv's hair began turning white after she woke up dead, and turned all the way white. She is a zombie who becomes less intelligent the more infrequently she eats brains, and expects to go all traditional movie zombie if she goes too long without eating brains.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The color red comes up a lot in Liv's world — which could just be a reference to the fact that where there are zombies, there's blood. But it could just as easily be a hat tip to the artist, whose name is Michael Allred.
    • Ravi's character in the MMORPG featured in "Virtual Reality Bites" is a were-terrier, like Scott was in the comics.
    • The wannabe Superhero from "Cape Town" is named Chris Allred, named after Chris Roberson and Michael Allred, the writer and artist (respectively) of the iZombie comic book.
    • When infiltrating Max Rager in "He Blinded Me... with Science," Liv adopts the name Gwen Dylan, her comic counterpart's name.
  • Narrator: Liv, mostly through internal monologue.
  • Never the Obvious Suspect: Most episodes follow this formula, though it gets occasionally subverted when the obvious suspect is revealed to be the killer after all (such as in "Brother, Can You Spare a Brain?").
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Not powers as such so much as traits, skills, and quirks from the dead people whose brains Liv consumes. More often than not, the quirk/trait comes in handy while solving that specific case, but it wears off, thus averting Deus ex Machina in future episodes.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Liv injects Blaine with an untested cure in the season 1 finale, despite his claim that he's the only source of brains for all the zombies in the city. If the supply stops, there's a good chance this could start a Zombie Apocalypse. Though, in hindsight, this turned out to be the best course of action since Blaine was able to find "more legitimate" ways of supplying brains without needing to kill homeless kids.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Blaine is able to seek out Liv to help rescue both Ravi and Don E. from Harley John's posse. Before they even arrive, though, he incidentally helped by giving Don E. a burner phone, which Ravi then used to call him for help.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In "Abra Cadaver," dealing with the search for who killed a magician at a convention, Smoak and Meers are rather obviously based on Penn & Teller (Meers is the Teller). This could also be a Take That!, since they turn out to be the ones behind the murder.
    • Inverted with Rob Thomas, the lead singer of Matchbox 20. Not only does he appear during the Season 2 finale to sing at the party, but he is killed when the zombie outbreak hits.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Going to that party. She wasn't going, but her boyfriend said she should do something fun for once. Or last, in this case.
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day: To be true, being dead is what motivates Liv to "live" and help other people.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Utterly averted. All of real-life zombie pop-culture exists within the TV series, so she quickly describes her condition as being a "zombie". Liv even starts renting every zombie movie she can find, which she describes as "research" for her condition, or to figure out what kind of zombie she is (apparently reasoning there must be a kernel of truth behind the myths). In the premiere, she watches and explicitly names Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968), and has also mentioned 28 Days Later. Later, Lowell outs himself as a zombie by deliberately quoting Warm Bodies, although the fact that he was putting hot peppers in his cocktails should have been a clue.]] They even refer to zombies who have degraded to the classic, mindless eating machines as "Romeros"
  • No Zombie Cannibals: The infected rat that Ravi creates is hostile towards him, but perfectly harmless in Liv's hands. She says it's a zombie thing, and that neither of them probably seem appetizing to the other. In the season 2 finale this becomes a plot point, as Liv and Major are safe from the attacking zombie horde due to being zombies themselves, while Clive is not.
  • Offing the Offspring:
    • Vaughn du Clark to Rita. Subverted, however, when she turns out to survive the attack after being infected.
    • Angus orders Dino to kill Blaine, and upon learning that he failed demands that he be brought his head with the next attempt.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Vaughn leaves Rita trapped in a basement, facing off against a Romero-zombie hyped up on Super Max, with nothing but a high heel as a weapon. She gets scratched up and infected, but still emerges from the basement alive, which is more than most of Vaughn's armed security guards manage when facing Super Max-fueled Romeros a few episodes later.
  • Opening Narration: Liv explains how she became a zombie, and why she works as a coroner's assistant, and that she pretends to be psychic to help a detective due to the side effects of her brain eating.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Rose McIver usually keeps her normal New Zealand voice under wraps, but it peeks through once in a while - listen to when she shouts "Nothing! Nothing!" in "Max Wager" and when she says "Rough night, eh, playa?" to Ravi in "Wag The Tongue Slowly."
  • Our Zombies Are Different:
    • Liv's condition is the result of being scratched by a guy who had just taken a new designer drug (perhaps a test run of a bio-weapon) that causes zombie-ism. She maintains her intelligence and personality as long as she eats brains now and again, and doing so also gives her visions of the life of the person whose brains they are. Along with temporarily picking up their memories, she also temporarily picks up skills and traits they had: after eating the brain of a Romanian kleptomaniac, she instantly knows how to speak Romanian, and starts absentmindedly stealing random red objects. The memories and traits from one brain get replaced by those of the next brain she eats (to the point that if it was a useful skill she will try to hold off on eating another brain). If she goes too long without eating brains, her higher brain functions gradually shut down, losing her focus and intelligence and increasing her aggression - she fears she'll turn into a completely mindless Romero-zombie if she stops eating brains entirely.
    • The third episode unfortunately confirms that if a zombie can't get brains to eat for long enough (in the range of at least six months), they irreversibly turn into a rotting, mindless Romero-zombie, even if they can later get more brains to eat.
    • Liv's appearance subtly changes depending on how recently she has eaten brains. If she has freshly eaten, her skin coloration becomes much warmer, closer to normal-looking (not completely, but enough that she might pass for someone with very fair skin who gets easily sunburned). Liv tries to put off eating brains for as long as she possibly can, by the end of which time her skin and hair are completely chalk white.
    • The official term Liv came up with for when she turns into a more Romero-like zombie is "full-on zombie mode" (Blaine called it "raging out"). If her life is in danger, even if she has eaten brains recently, she goes into an aggression-fueled fury with enhanced strength, during which her eyes go red and her skin goes completely white, with some major veins visible underneath. Her human personality is briefly suppressed during the episode, though she is able to snap herself out of of zombie mode, especially if there are potential witnesses nearby or if there's a possibility of killing someone. She seems to retain some awareness, as she fights Sebastian intelligently, and doesn't appear to be in danger of attacking Peyton, recognizing a friend even in this state.
    • Liv technically isn't stone dead. She does have a heartbeat - but her resting pulse is only 10 beats a minute, compared to the normal 60-100 beats a minute (athletes with good cardio systems can be down to 40 beats a minute). An upshot of this is that if she's injured by gunfire she doesn't lose a lot of blood gushing out of the wound.
    • Likely due to the fact she still has blood circulation, however, wounds suffered by Liv heal over time. They do not persist (compare with the zombie-esque Owen Harper in Torchwood).
    • All of Liv's senses have been dulled, including pain and taste. She can barely taste anything unless it is smothered in very hot spices. She says she nearly wept once when she saw a kid eating a peanut butter cup, because she can't taste it anymore. Her sense of pain has been dulled to the point that she doesn't notice that she has been shot with a handgun during a car chase - and afterwards, has open-heart surgery without anesthetic to casually remove the bullet.
    • Liv's lack of pain seems to let her push herself farther physically, like a super adrenaline rush. She also seems to heal fast.
    • Liv doesn't need to sleep - in fact she found it impossible to sleep for five months after being infected.
    • Ravi also manages to infect several lab rats with the zombie virus, one of which turns white and kills all the others. This proves that the virus can attack other species. However, when he gets accidentally bitten by the rat and nothing happens to him over the next several days, he concludes that the virus does not jump species.
    • In this series, zombieism can be a sexually transmitted condition. A Season 2 episode has Ravi trying without success to find a condom that will prevent its spread, with a direct parallel to HIV made in dialogue.
    • Later on, Ravi discovers that, after several months, the "cured" rat has reverted to its zombie state. He realizes that all his work has been for naught and that both Major and Blaine will revert soon enough.

    Tropes P-Z 
  • Parental Neglect: Blaine's father, Angus. He apparently didn't bother locking up the Baretta his wife used to kill herself, in spite of her claiming to be suicidal. He also ignored Blaine's pleas for help when he was abused by his childhood nanny. In the third season, it's revealed he himself beat Blaine as well.
  • Patient Zero: Blaine. He was high on tainted Utopium when Liv threw her Max Rager drink in his face. The combination is revealed to have been the cause of the outbreak when an outbreak occurs at Max Rager in the S2 finale. He also passed on the infection to Liv via a scratch to her arm, and then he intentionally infected wealthy people so he could extort money out of them in return for brains.
  • Phony Psychic: Liv pretends to be psychic to explain her knowledge of the victims. Although she has genuine powers that operate in a manner similar to psychic powers, just restricted to things known by the person whose brain she ate.
  • Picture-Perfect Presentation: Multiple shots in the opening credits, and several of the establishing shots in the first episode go from drawn comic panels to moving images.
  • Plot Armor: Played straight with the main cast.
    • Taken to extremes with Blaine. Plenty of characters have tried to kill him throughout the series, none of which resulted in success due to either their lack of awareness of his zombie condition or due to convenient timing of his re-zombification.
    • Averted by the leaders of Fillmore Graves. You'd expect them to stay alive, but they are suddenly killed off by a helicopter explosion only a few episodes into Season 3 without warning or expectation. This mostly appears to be done in order to bring in Chase Graves to replace them.
  • Power Trio: Liv, Ravi and Clive.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: It keeps the main star's condition the same, but gives her a cast of reliable humans, makes her a medical examiner instead of a grave digger, took out the Big Bad who gets away at the end of the first six-issues scot free, and takes away her amnesia. The net result? A story better suited to syndication, more tightly written, and with things to care about, while still keeping the core of the main star (the ennui).
  • Private Military Contractors: Fillmore-Graves Enterprises, which Vaughn du Clarke compares to Blackwater, except Fillmore-Graves is even less ethical. Led by Vivian Stoll, who acquires Max Rager, reveals that they are zombies, and resolves to start a zombie nation with a capital in Seattle.
  • Promotedto Opening Titles:
    • Peyton in Season Three.
    • Angus in Season Four, as The Prophet.
  • Punny Name:
    • Liv(e) Mo(o)re.
    • Major Lilywhite, who is initially a painfully stereotypical whitebread yuppie and whom later becomes a zombie.
    • Helton Shelter (Helter Skelter), the homeless shelter Major used to work at.
    • Defense contractor company Fillmore-Graves Enterprises (Fill More Graves).
    • Butchery and zombie brain dispensary Meat Cute, (Meet Cute).
    • Blaine's brain dealing businesses: the Meat Cute Charcuterie; Shady Plots funeral and cremation services; the zombie-only bar, The Scratching Post.
    • Blaine's birth name, Blaine McDonough, is the same as the wealthy rival character in the film Pretty in Pink. Albeit, spelled differently. Bozzio reveals that his adopted surname DeBeers was something he picked up selling alcohol to minors.
    • Rob Thomas has teased that Blaine's role in Season Four will be akin to that of Rick from the film Casablanca. Ironically, the full name of Humphery Bogart's character is Rick Blaine.
    • Anchorman Johnny Frost ironically starts off his career as a weatherman.
  • Purple Prose: In "Brother, Can You Spare a Brain?", Liv eats the brain of an artist and becomes unable to describe things in anything but the most flowery terms, the kind that a passionate artist might use when describing a scene. When Clive asks her to just tell him what color shirt the guy is wearing, she replies "cerulean", causing him to look at her like she's insane. After all, any normal person would just say "blue".
    • She also gets purple in her prose (but not as extreme) when on actor brains and later on DM brains.
    • She gets a bit of purple prose when she eats the brain of a librarian who had just written a Fifty Shades of Grey novel, but usually to describe sexual situations.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Peyton after she discovers that Liv is a zombie in "Dead Rat, Live Rat, Brown Rat, White Rat".
      • She comes back in season two and becomes a regular.
    • Liv's mother and brother; after being regulars in the first season they make an appearance in season's two first episode and are never seen again.
    • Blaine's father in season two, and again in season three. After appearances early in the season, he is literally frozen by Major until episode thirteen of that season. While he was last seen being tortured by Blaine's henchman, he isn't seen or mentioned for the rest of the season. He is later revealed to have been frozen again by Blaine, and is present in only three episodes before Blaine imprisons him at the bottom of a well. Blaine was shown to have fed him to keep him from going full Romero. He becomes a series regular in season four.
    • Mr. Boss is said to have fled the country after Blaine's raid on his HQ at the end of season 2. He comes back in season 3 to settle some scores but runs afoul of the rezombified Blaine, who reveals the existence of zombies to him and intimidates Boss into working for him and again in season 4.
  • Raising the Steaks: While using rats to test out causes of the zombie virus, Ravi accidentally creates a zombie rat that devours the other test subjects. When discovered, Ravi is understandably terrified while Liv thinks it's adorable. It's a zombie thing.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: "Stop, I'm Already Dead" by Deadboy & the Elephantmen.
  • Recursive Crossdressing: The perp in a Season 2 episode was a woman who would dress as a male to perform a magic act, and would pretend to be mute so that she wouldn't have to reveal her voice. She then dressed as a woman again so that she could murder another magician, and escape blame by pretending to be the maid who found the body.
  • Recovered Addict: Despite dealing drugs once more in season 2, Blaine is clean. Major was addicted to Utopium early in the second season, and recovered.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: Liv is forced to go to Blaine to help track down boat party Utopium for Ravi's cure research.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When the zombies are experiencing extreme emotions (being in danger, getting angry, having sex) or haven't eaten anything in a long time, their sclera turn red with yellowish-white pupils and they tend to lose control. They usually fade to normal as soon as the zombie exerts control, though.
  • Red Herring: A typical episode follows this time-tested Detective Drama formula: 1) Someone is murdered. 2) Liv and and Clive come across a suspect with an obvious motive: a jealous lover, a bitter competitor, an heir who benefits financially from the death, etc. 3) Turns out the obvious suspect has an alibi, or he didn't actually have a motive for killing the victim, or he couldn't be the killer because of technical reasons. 4) The killer turns out to be someone unexpected. Sometimes the formula is subverted by having the obvious suspect be the killer after all, but the twist is that he managed to make it look like he was innocent, or that his reason for killing the victim is something else than the obvious motive.
  • Redemption Equals Death: After Lowell has a vision of his latest "meal" being killed by Blaine, and Liv realizes she can't kill a person, even someone like Blaine, Lowell tries to stab Blaine in the head with a barbecue fork, but realizing that he'll probably fail he takes the time to mouth "I love you" to her first. He does indeed fail. Blaine manages to catch the blow with his arm and shoots Lowell in the head.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Blaine by Peyton, and the whole gang, once he confesses he feigned the duration of his memory loss. He truly made an effort to turn his life around, and says he wanted to change his life and how people viewed him. He simply lied due to his own fear of rejection, not to screw over Liv and Major. He only returns to his old ways two episodes later after his father has him shot, and even then he only kills those who try to kill him. After this the main cast ostracizes him, save an instance where Liv and Clive seek his help on a case.
  • Reformed Criminal: Blaine in the first half of season three. Even when the truth about his amnesia is revealed, he states he wanted to change his life and how people viewed him.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: The only way to kill zombies.
  • Retired Monster: Blaine after Liv cured him in "Blaine's World". While he still runs shady operations and returns to selling utopium for a time, he is no longer the murderous villain he was in Season 1. He even tries to give his relationship with Peyton a genuine effort, but decides to tell her the truth about him faking amnesia, which causes Peyton to leave him as his lie screwed over her friends. He also no longer simply executes any subordinate who has failed him. Namely, Don E has failed and betrayed him numerous times, and yet Blaine not only doesn't kill him; but actually races to his rescue when Don is kidnapped by zombie truthers.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: After she gets rejected by Major at the end of "Brother, Can You Spare a Brain?", Liv has a revelation that passion fails because it's shortsighted and lacks consistent reason. In the next episode, she inherits the personality traits of an intelligent sociopath who is extremely intelligent but lacks emotion, and that initially impairs her desire to save Ravi from Marcy. She ultimately favors the Golden Mean.
  • Salt and Pepper: In "Maternity Liv" someone calls Clive and Liv "Detectives Ebony and Ivory".
  • Sarcastic Confession: Blaine sarcastically gives "Daddy issues. Megalomania. Greed." as the reasons for what he does. It is later revealed that his dad was indeed a terrible father.
  • Save the Villain: Liv spares Blaine's life in the first season finale, despite having him at gunpoint. Instead, she elects to cure him.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Despite the fact that Babineaux is a pretty solid detective, he is often able to explain away Liz's extreme personality changes as a simple obsession with crime-solving, and even lets her tag along despite the fact that she's not officially part of an investigation on the merit of her visions alone. Late in season 2, he reveals that he isn't as oblivious as he seems, privately asking Ravi if he knows why Liv seems to take on the characteristics of the Victims of the Week, but seemingly puts it down to her weird psychic powers.
  • Self-Deprecation: In "Method Head", one of the actor playing zombie on a Show Within a Show proposes an idea for a zombie show, where the star is a zombie. Clive immediately tells him it's a dumb idea.
  • Self-Serving Memory: Liv's trigger-induced memories of the victims are mostly selective; the direct causes or sometimes even the murderers themselves are obscured enough that she cannot draw reasonable conclusions. Some examples include Danny Wong's memories of Clive attending gang meetings despite the fact that he knew that Clive was clean, and Scott's sole focus on his supervisor's desire to get pregnant without knowing her name or seeing her face.
  • Ship Tease: At the 2015 Comic Con the panel was asked about a potential romance for Liv and Blaine in the vein of Buffy and Spike. While Diane Ruggiero-Wright seemed enthusiastic, Rob Thomas stated they'd "perhaps consider it if Blaine ever turned over a new leaf." The character made an effort to do just this at the end of Season Two, though in the third season it was actually Peyton with whom he formed a relationship.
  • Shout-Out: There are a lot of cultural references. Well, it's Rob Thomas. (see the Recap page for Shout-Out of each episode).
  • Show Within a Show: In "Astroburger" Peyton comments that she and Liv are fans of a zombie show named Zombie High. In "Method Head", the death of one of the actors allows Liv to not only visit the set of the show, but also temporarily become a pretty good actress after eating his brain.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Liv and the police sketch artist have a minor (mostly one-sided) feud going on, which started when she had an artist brain and dissed his talents. After that it's been continuously exacerbated by accidents on Liv's part.
  • Situational Sexuality: A zombie's sexual preference can change depending on the sexuality of the brain they eat. Lowell turns gay for a day, and Liv openly lusts after everyone after eating the brain of a sex addict artist.
  • Skunk Stripe: One of the first symptoms of a zombie infection. Most zombies later dye their hair to cover their condition.
  • Slut-Shaming: After being rescued from Mr. Boss' men, Ravi seems to care more about the fact Peyton slept with Blaine than the fact she almost died. He kept using the present tense as well, much to Peyton's dismay. Peyton later calls him out on it, telling him his opinion on her sleeping with Blaine is irrelevant.
  • Soap Opera Disease: In season 4 Isobel is brought to New Seattle to be cured of Freylich Syndrome, which a quick search online will reveal does not actually exist. The only symptom given so far is nosebleeds, and that the condition is terminal before adulthood. In the meantime, Isobel seems perfectly healthy.
  • The Sociopath: In "The Exterminator", Liv realizes that the Victim of the Week was one, when after eating his brain, she becomes very emotionally detached and flashes to him killing someone. Because of her medical training and/or the victim's obsession with factoids, she notes that sociopathy is no longer a medical diagnosis, as the DSM folded both it and psychopathy into the condition called "Anti-Social Personality Disorder".
  • Sorry, I'm Gay: Played with. Lowell says this to Liv after they've been dating for a couple of episodes, and then has to clarify that it's only because he ate the brain of a gay guy. He promises to make sure his next brain is "ludicrously straight," and floats the idea of digging up Wilt Chamberlain.
  • Staging an Intervention: Liv's family, five months after the party at the lake. They think she suffers from post-traumatic stress and thinly disguise the intervention as the return of "Potluck Tuesday".
  • Staking the Loved One: In the season 2 finale, Liv finds out that Vaughn Du Clarke's people have experimented on some of the zombies kidnapped by Major, attempting to cure the condition. Unfortunately, the "cures" end up turning them into "full Romero" zombies. Drake ends up volunteering for an experiment to spare another zombie and goes mindless. Clarke then sics him on Clive, forcing Liv to shoot Drake in the head.
  • Sticky Fingers: In the pilot, Liv temporarily becomes a kleptomaniac after eating a dead escort's brain. She is especially attracted to anything red. This helps her figure out that the escort had a tendency to take other people's things too. At the end of the episode, she returns all the stolen items.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Natalie: She returns to Major at the end of season three just so that she can be blown up by a suicide bomber at a party Major brought her to.
    • Also, several zombies get literally stuffed into fridges for temporary suspended animation, but that's not what this trope refers to.
  • Suddenly Bilingual: Liv is able to speak Romanian after she eats the brains of a Jane Doe from the morgue. In another episode, she suddenly discovers that she can read Russian tech schematics.
    • Don E., Blaine, and their clients at The Scratching Post speak Bengali after eating the brains shipped from a high fatality hospital.
  • Suddenly Sexuality: Lowell goes from being totally into Liv to treating her like his best friend. She's confused until he admits that he's temporarily gay, having accidentally eaten the brain of a gay scientist (his supplier is a mortician, who doesn't tell him the details of the deceased person, and may not have known in any case). Liv realizes she can have a Gay Best Friend for a day, and they have lots of fun. She later gets a text from him saying he's feeling "hetero again".
  • Supernatural Angst: Every zombie experiences this, but Lowell's angst after Liv's brain-induced tirade directly leads to his death.
  • Supervillain Lair:
    • Season One: Blaine's "Meat Cute" Butcher shop.
    • Season Two: Max Rager's Corporation. Blaine moves his business to Shady Plots funeral home.
    • Season Three: The Filmore-Graves campus. Angus & Don E (later Blaine & Don E) expand their operation out of the Scratching Post zombie-only club. Though it should be noted Liv and Clive visit to seek the two's assistance on a case; and Liv and Major have been among the patrons.
  • Take That!: Liv describes Twitter as "a vast collection of humanity's thought vomitings."
    • The episode "Love & Basketball" has several towards the city of Tacoma, which reflects their rivalry with Seattle.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Whenever the group is forced to work with Blaine.
  • That Didn't Happen: Peyton initially proposes that Blaine could regain all his memories, yet stay the new improved version of himself. Though he maintains this is what happened, she leaves him anyway, due to his feigning the prolonged memory loss and the consequences of said lie. Though it should be noted he lied not to screw her friends over, but more due to his own fear of rejection.
  • They Fight Crime!: Liv is an undead Medical Examiner's assistant who eats brains. Clive's a sassy black cop. They solve murders.
    Clive: I thought I had a psychic sidekick. I was working on a bit. Cagney and Pasty.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Blaine in season 2. None of the others are happy about it, but he's their only link to tainted utopium and they are the only ones who can reign him in.
  • Tooka Levelin Badass: Major in the first season finale while taking out Blaine's crew.
    • Blaine in the season two finale, taking out Mr. Boss' men. He killed people previously, but tended to rely on henchman to do a lot of his dirty work. Here he was willing to risk his own life to save Peyton's, despite the fact he was outnumbered.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Zombies have brains of course. And hot sauce, due to their inability to taste anything except the strongest spices.
  • Tragic Keepsake: In the second season, after Max Rager forces him to start hunting and killing zombies, a depressed and Utopium-addicted Major holds on to the dog of one of his victims, though he can't bring himself to name it.
  • Trapped in Villainy: At the start of the second season, Major is blackmailed by Vaughn du Clarke into becoming a zombie-killing hitman.
  • Treasure Chest Cavity: When Ravi asks Blaine for more tainted utopium to work on the cure, one of Blaine's associates (after becoming a zombie) explains that a friend of his was a drug mule, who swallowed several bags of utopium to avoid the cops. Naturally, something went wrong, and he died from an overdose and was buried somewhere in the vicinity of a particular landmark. Since no one knows the exact spot where he was buried, it would take a long time to look for the body (and the utopium inside), so the idea is abandoned. Then Ravi finds out that the cure he developed is only temporary and starts looking for the body with a metal detector and a shovel, eventually recruiting Major and Liv for the task.
  • Unbelievable Source Plot: Odd variation. Liv tells someone she's psychic, which in another context might be unbelievable. But it's easier to explain than zombieism. Clive accepts it after her visions turn out to be accurate, hence justified.
  • The Un Reveal: At the end of "The Hurt Stalker," Rita (aka Gilda) unwittingly sends a scantily-clad picture of herself to Liv, who is secretly using Major's phone... but the shot only reveals her body, not her face. Liv thinks Major is still seeing his lover, but doesn't know it's Gilda, her own roommate.
  • Urban Fantasy: A zombie solving crimes in Seattle, Washington.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Those infected but still retaining their mind through eating brains can enter a state during which they go completely savage and attack any threats with extreme prejudice.
  • Vegetarian Vampire: Liv got a job at the coroner's office so that she could have access to a regular supply of brains to eat without having to kill people. Blaine also claims to be one, albeit through graverobbing, but it turns out he's lying. He kills two people, and right after shows up with a fresh brain for a fellow zombie. Lowell, Liv's new zombie boyfriend, claims that his supplier is a mortician. Then Liv eats some of the brains in his fridge and realizes that they belong to a homeless kid who Major is looking for. She also sees Blaine delivering brains to Lowell.
  • Victim of the Week: Each episode has a different murder.
  • Villain Protagonst: Blaine after season one, as he has his own stories divorced from the case of the week. Especially when involving Boss, Chase, or his father.
  • Villainous Breakdown: "Dead Air" Sasha's murderer - her former producer/friend has one live on the radio when she proves to be a Sketchy Successor to the late Sasha.
  • Villainous Rescue: Just as Liv is about to be killed by the woman she was trying to rescue (who's actually a criminal), the woman is shot by Mr. Boss, the city's criminal mastermind. In this case, though, it's pure self-interest, as the woman stole from him.
    • After she is taken due to his having feelings for her, Blaine (who was trying to reform under the pretense of his amnesia) rescues Peyton from Mr. Boss' henchman.
  • Viral Transformation: Per the course. See "Our Zombies Are Different" above for details.
    • Extended in "Maternity Liv", animals seems to be vulnerable to the virus too, if they consume utopium and Max Rager.
  • Visionary Villain: in the third season, Angus plots the increase of the zombie population and worldwide brain distribution; stating that 'The Future is Brains!'
  • Visual Pun: In the second season, the way Liv prepares the brains she eats are often these. In "Cape Town," she makes a 'hero' sandwich with the costumed vigilante. In "Method Head," the actor's brains are added to a 'TV' dinner.
  • Vorpal Pillow: Blaine uses a pillow to smother his vegetative grandfather, hoping to feed his brain to Angus so that they can both have revenge.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Major gets this at least once a season.
    • Blaine played the organ in his boxers for an entire scene, and was taken out into the woods to have his throat slit.. CW seems to like this trope.
    • Lowell and Chase Graves each had scenes that fall under this trope.
  • Was Once a Man: Zombies.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Live Rat, Dead Rat, Brown Rat, White Rat". Peyton learns about zombies and that Liv is one, Major gets captured by Blaine, who is also going to do something to Liv's brother, who unknowingly turns in a job application at Blaine's deli.
    • "Blaine's World", the first season finale Liv uses the only samples of the cure Ravi managed to create (which were still untested) to cure Blaine and Major, who she turned to save his life after Blaine stabbed him for shooting up Blaine's deli. Lt. Suzuki covers up Blaine's activities by blowing up Blaine's deli, and Liv's brother is caught in the blast. Now he's in critical condition and the only person on hand with the right blood type is Liv, who refuses to donate for obvious reasons.
    • "Cape Town". Blaine gets a lead on the tainted utopium by having Liv turn one of Mr. Boss' employees into a zombie. Liv comes to Mr. Boss' attention after infiltrating one of his operations, which prompts Clive to break up their partnership. Liv concludes that Major can't deal with her zombie condition and breaks up with him. The test rat for the cure reverts to its zombie form and Ravi concludes that the cure is only temporary.
    • "Some Like it Hot Mess" Blaine confesses that while he did lose his memories for a few days, he feigned the true duration of his memory loss in an attempt to change his life and how people viewed him. As the lie kept Liv and Major from being cured sooner, no one in the main cast takes too kindly to this revelation. At the end of the episode, Ravi's doses of the cure are stolen from his office from the morgue; with both Blaine and Don E. maintaining innocence in the following episode.
    • "Looking for Mr. Goodbrain (Part 2)". A flue-vaccine, tainted with zombie-blood, infects over ten-thousand Seattle citizens, obliterating the masquerade and forcing Liv to explain the nature of zombies through a live broadcast. People panic and many of the remaining humans flee the city. Interviews already mention that the military will mobilize and quarantine all of Seattle. In the span of fifteen minutes, the scope of the entire show blows up and reaches world-changing dimensions.
  • Wham Line:
    • Liv's brother may die without a blood transfusion. "Liv, go with the doctor." "No."
    • Rita, Vaughn du Clark's pretty young assistant, is mad at him for having an affair with the wife of an important board member. His response: "Remember, if it wasn't for me sleeping with other men's wives, you would not exist."
    • Blaine confessing he feigned the true duration of his memory loss, and Peyton's response. "It's what happened to me, and what gave me the idea that I could change my life. Change who I was. Change how people viewed me." "Well it worked. You've made a fool of me."
  • Wham Shot: In "Flight of the Living Dead", Clive brings up to his lieutenant that missing persons cases have tripled in the past six months, but the lieutenant angrily tells him to stick to his work as a homicide detective. After he leaves, the lieutenant then reaches into his desk drawer - and takes out a bottle of hot sauce, which he pours into his coffee, revealing that he is a zombie.
    • "Conspiracy Weary", meanwhile, has Ravi and Liv walking along a dull Seattle street when he notices a newspaper stand displaying copies of an alternative newspaper. He grabs a copy to find a photo of a enraged Liv, red eyes and all, on the front cover of the newspaper.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Said by Major to Liv when persuading her to go to the boat party.
    Liv: [voiceover] The worst that can happen? Try an inexplicable zombie outbreak... followed by a sudden desire to eat brains.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Blaine's father in season 2. After Blaine kidnaps Major and gets the frozen corpse of his father back and wakes him up, Blaine puts his subordinates that have been respectively shot in eye and tortured by his father to torture him until he agrees to make a new video will, giving Blaine all the money that would originally go to his childhood nanny. It was never clear what was done to Blaine's father; whether or not the new video will was made or if Blaine got the money some other way, or even if he managed to kill his father. This was, however, later resolved in season 2.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Major gives a big one to Liv in the season one finale with regards to lying to him, letting him think he was going crazy rather than telling him the truth, and then forcing him to become a zombie out of some twisted hope that they could be together rather than just letting him die.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Blaine in Season 1. Liv's "sire" was a selfish, hedonistic drug user before becoming a zombie and remains one after becoming one, with the change of having a new way to make a profit regardless of whom he hurts to do so.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!:
    • "Blaine's World" takes a shot at the show's premise:
    Vaughn: The girl, the zombie who turned Sebastian into one?... She's with Seattle PD, and guess what she does? Medical examiner! Who writes this stuff, right?
    • In "Method Head", an actor playing a zombie says that someone should make a zombie show where a zombie is the star. Clive calls the idea "dumb."
  • Who Murdered the Asshole?: "Virtual Reality Bites" has Liv try to find out who killed a basement dwelling geek. Turns out he's an infamous hacker named "Sin Reaper" that's hated by everyone, with a website springing up overnight to celebrate his death.
  • Wild Card: Blaine in season 2, and especially in season 3 when he takes back his business. At that point he is no longer murdering, nor dealing drugs. He is simply trying to earn a profit.
  • Writing Indentation Clue: Babineaux gets the location where the bad guy is holding two women by taking an impression of a Post-It pad. Lampshaded by Liv: "Damn, that really works!"
  • World of Snark: Like Rob Thomas' other shows, humans and zombies alike snark frequently at each other.
  • Would Hurta Child: Blaine initially killed runaway teens for his brain supply.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race:
    • Liv, under the influence of the brains of an old-fashioned victim of the week, says that Clive is "one of the good ones" after he tells off a perp that was hitting on her in "Grumpy Old Liv".
    • Blaine mockingly tells Liv she's a credit to her species as a crime-fighting zombie.
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • After one of his Mooks loses the brain deliveries he's supposed to make, Blaine takes out a knife and stabs him in the neck. Subverted, as the guy is a zombie, and the bleeding neck wound is hardly fatal to him. Blaine tells him to get up and get back to work.
    • Chase Graves pulls a similar stunt, shooting Justin Bell for taking confiscated Max Rager. Again it's subverted, as Justin is a zombie. He then tells his employees they have a big day of training ahead of them.
  • Your Cheating Heart: The victim of the second episode spent much of his time sleeping with every model posing for his paintings. In a twist, his wife knew and tolerated it, since she knew that he was merely scratching an itch. In fact, she made friends with one of his conquests. Then he got his friend's daughter pregnant and decided to leave his wife to start a family. This was too much for his wife.
    • Several other victims turn out to be cheaters, but this doesn't figure into the cause of their deaths. It's inverted in "The Hurt Stalker," where the victim was an obsessive stalker who would ruin relationships by sending scrapbooks to the scorned lovers of the men she slept with. She ended up getting revenge from one of the wives.
    • In one case, the victim seducing married women turns out to be the cause for his death, or rather one of the angry husbands is.
    • Liv ends up sleeping with Chase Graves under the influence of Katty Kupp's brain, after confirming with her boyfriend Justin that they were indeed exclusive. Justin breaks up with her as it has been shown she can resist the influence of a brain if she truly wants to .
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Averted. The zombie outbreak initially did not progress beyond the boat party, with the exception of Blaine intentionally turning people to extort money out of them in exchange for brains. However, Liv keeps fearing inadvertently starting one.
    • In addition, Blaine pushes the brains so well that he is largely able to control the zombieism during season one and most of season two. He transfers the virus onto rich zombies who can pay him thousands of dollars for brains. However, this leads to Vaughn du Clark's ability to find zombies in the Seattle area by examining their credit card records, and his subsequent hiring/blackmailing of Major to kill all the wealthy zombies preemptively to prevent an outbreak.
    • A second outbreak occurs at Max Rager in the second season finale, though the zombies are all killed and Vivian Stoll blows up the building to cover up the incident
    • Filmore-Graves infects thousands of Seattle citizens are turned by Chase Graves using a tainted vaccine, after his confidante Carey Gold unleashes a bio-attack on the city. He surmises that if one in ten people who die each day were to donate their brains, Seattle can have a steady brain supply and an apocalypse can be averted.
  • Zombie Gait: Invoked, as Liv shows up dressed as — you guessed it — a zombie, for the haunted house.
    • And again in season two when they show up on the set of Zombie High and one of the zombies asks Liv if anyone's shown her how to walk yet.
    • Blaine jokingly invokes this trope after he reverts to zombie form in the second season, entering the morgue while moaning for brains.

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