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Series / In The Dark

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Murphy and Pretzel.

"Why don't you look blind?"
"Same reason you probably don't look stupid."

In the Dark is a 2019 drama on The CW created by Corinne Kingsbury (Fam). The pilot was directed by Michael Showalter (The Big Sick).

Murphy Mason is a surly, alcoholic, blind woman who lives in Chicago and works for her parents' school for guide dogs. She lost her sight at fourteen and pretty much dislikes everyone except for her vet roommate, Jess, and Tyson, a teenage drug dealer who once saved Murphy from a mugger.

When Murphy goes to meet Tyson one night and finds his dead body, however, she becomes determined to discover who killed him and why. The police aren't much of a help, since the body disappears before they even find it and they only have the word of a drunk, blind woman to go with, but Murphy is determined to solve the case and find out what happened to one of her only friends. With her guide dog Pretzel and a stubborn attitude, she sets out to figure things out.


Not to be confused with Into the Dark (a series of horror films on Hulu), the podcast In The Dark, or a previous TV series from 2017 with the same name.

Tropes included in In the Dark:

  • The Alcoholic: Murphy. "You'd think blacking out would be easier when you're blind."
  • Alliterative Name: Murphy Mason.
  • Butch Lesbian: Sterling, who gets involved with Jess, has boyish short hair and also dresses in a pretty masculine way. Sam, meanwhile, is also revealed as being with her and even more of an example: she's a shaven-headed stone-cold badass female gangster.
  • Canine Companion: For Murphy, it's Pretzel, her guide dog, especially after she loses her cane.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Murphy starts masturbating while Max is in the shower, which he comes out to find her doing. They have sex, and when it's over she claims to have been "masturbating with your body".
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  • Deadpan Snarker: This is pretty much Murphy's default mode of speech. Murphy's frenemy/co-worker Felix is also pretty snarky and both engage in Snark-to-Snark Combat on a daily basis.
  • Dirty Cop: Dean turns out to be one, having accepted bribes from Nia in return for tips on police efforts against her, and killed Tyson so this wouldn't come out.
  • Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery: Murphy can get away with a lot given her blindness, and she knows it. Overall she's not a jerk, but at times she does take advantage of it.
  • Disability Superpower: Subverted. When the police are interviewing her, Murphy mentions that Tyson's dead body smelled different and one of the detectives says that her senses must be heightened due to being blind. Murphy tells her "I'm not Daredevil" and tells the detective that the reason she knew he smelled different was because she specifically smelled him. It's shown throughout the rest of the episode that her blindness really is a disability and without her cane or guide dog, she can't go anywhere.
  • Disabled Means Helpless: Murphy chides Detective Dean for thinking this about his daughter. She tells him that the best he can do is treat her exactly the same as before she was blinded.
  • Disabled Snarker: Murphy is a nutshell.
  • Driven to Suicide: Dean kills himself rather than go to prison for his crimes.
  • Driving Question: Who killed Tyson and why? Why did they move his body and make people believe he's still alive?
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Murphy loves to drink, especially after she finds her best friend Tyson dead.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Murphy records Dean covertly with her phone when she gets him to confess that he'd murdered Tyson. He finds out and wipes the recording from her phone. It turns out to have already gotten saved on the cloud though.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: The only time Pretzel growls is when Murphy finds Tyson's dead body.
  • Frame-Up: Darnell is framed for murdering Tyson using planted DNA evidence.
  • Gay Best Friend: Jess, who's a lesbian, is Murphy's, along with her housemate.
  • Gayngster: Sam, a fierce, no-nonsense gang enforcer, turns out to be a lesbian.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Murphy and Stirling, two female characters, both have names which are usually last names and thus can fit with someone of any gender.
  • Happily Adopted: It's clear that even though Murphy has trouble with her parents, they still love her very much and don't regret adopting her.
  • Hollywood Law: A busted taillight isn't enough to warrant searching a vehicle. While the reason to stop them was faked, Gene already called in the excuse for dispatch, which would make it difficult assuming he'd actually found drugs by his search of the back.
  • Honey Trap: Sterling turns out to be one, as she's got a girlfriend already but gets into a relationship Jess (her girlfriend's actually ordered it) as a spy to insure she and her friends obey the gang's commands.
  • Just in Time: Jess arrived precisely at the right moment to stop Nia murdering Murphy, by shooting her.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Jess, a feminine woman who's also into women.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: Jess, who's feminine, and her second girlfriend Sterling, who has very butch looks in comparison.
  • Nepotism: Murphy's parents run a school for guide dogs and employ her, even though she doesn't really do anything. Eventually, once the receptionist quits (to be an actor in Hollywood), she's promoted to being the receptionist, even though she really hasn't shown the people skills required. Subverted in that she ends up being quite good at it.
  • Never Suicide: Sam habitually makes her hits look like suicides, according to Stirling. Within the show, we see this when she murdered Detective Becker.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. Jess goes out to get tampons on the road because she's starting her period.
  • Off on a Technicality: After the trouble which Murphy goes to getting Dean's confession recorded on her phone, it can't be used because in Illinois recordings required both parties' consent. On top of all that, the police captain agrees to have the evidence destroyed rather than reveal it so he'd at least be fired and publicly excoriated, as he's still useful plus he would make the guy look bad as his superior.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Max recovers very quickly from being stabbed multiple times in the abdomen (which could be fatal, realistically, or at least very debilitating).
  • Parents as People: It's clear that even though Murphy's parents are trying their best, they have their own flaws, too.
  • Really Gets Around: Murphy, before her relationship with Max, appears to have men over for casual sex with a very high frequency.
  • The Reveal: Dean murdered Tyson to cover up the fact he was working for Nia.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Jess and Stirling decide to hit the road, leaving Chicago behind, rather than staying trapped in the drug game.
  • Sex for Solace: Murphy likes having sex, but not romance. Tyson tells her that it's because when she's having sex, she feels just like everyone else "because we all do it with our eyes closed." She doesn't disagree.
  • Shameful Strip: Josiah orders Murphy to strip as proof she's not wired. This means naked, rather than just to her underwear. Felix however just gets a pat down. Murphy does it unhappily.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The commercials aired on the CW before Season 1 only showed Murphy's blind snarkery and comedic beats with other characters, disguising it as a straight comedy and completely hiding the thriller and mystery elements of the show.
  • Wall Bang Her: Murphy has sex with Max up against a tree in the woods at one point.


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