Follow TV Tropes


Series / Legends

Go To

Legends is a 2014 Conspiracy Thriller TV series based on Robert Littell's novel of the same title, developed by the showrunner of Homeland developer Howard Gordon. Martin Odum (Sean Bean) is an undercover FBI operative with several well-developed aliases (the titular legends) and uncanny ability to stay in character under pressure. However, the stress of his work causes him to assault a random hobo... who tells him, in very specific terms, that "Martin Odum" is another alias, and that he shouldn't trust anyone.

The show's second season saw a complete revision of the series format despite retaining its original continuity, as the episodes now focus on Martin laying low in London trying to delve deeper into solving the mystery of his true identity, interspersed with several other storylines centered around a legend that he once personified back in 2001, and a few people that he interacted with while undercover, as well as some occasional flashbacks to his youth. The series was canceled after two seasons.

Now has a character sheet.

Tropes featured in the series:

  • Anachronic Order: The stories in season 2 alternate between the present day and 14 years ago, during the time of the Dmitry Petrovich legend, as well as flashbacks centered on a particular character. A prime example is that we see Curtis Ballard kill himself in 2015 before the incident which cost him his left leg back in 2001.
  • Badass and Child Duo: Martin and Kate as of "The Legend of Tamir Zakayev".
  • Better Manhandle the Murder Weapon: When the FBI director is assassinated, Odum wakes up on a rooftop and finds a rifle. The first thing he does is pick it by the barrel.
  • Character Focus: The second season leans more into this, as evidenced by the Idiosyncratic Episode Naming.
  • Cliffhanger: Martin Alexei is left in prison when he refused to go back into the service of the SVR.
  • Driving Question: Who really is the man known as Martin Odum?
  • Fair Cop: Tony's old lover Nina played by Kelly Overton.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Every new scene in Season 2 includes a shift in either location, time period, central character, or any combination of the three. The further along into the season, the more the lines start to converge.
    • Line A follows Martin as he tries to uncover his own mystery, with a little help from Tony (and later his CIA ex-lover, Nina).
    • Line B centers on Kate Crawford, a teenage girl in London who is struggling with an identity crisis after learning of her true heritage. Her and Martin's stories meet after "The Legend of Curtis Ballard."
    • Line C is focused on Curtis Ballard, an FBI agent who was previously involved in investigating Dmitry Petrovich, whose curiosity (and desire for revenge) is piqued as the latter resurfaces 14 years later as Martin Odum.
    • Aside from the aforementioned plot lines, several flashbacks shed some light on the various characters' pasts.
  • Genre Shift: The second season features a massive change from the first season's format, with the show appearing to be more mystery-oriented than action-based.
  • Government Conspiracy: Operation Raining Fire.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode of Season 2 begins with the words "The Legend of..." followed by the name of a character, the sole exception being "The Second Legend of Dmitry Petrovich."
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The second season in a nutshell.
  • Myth Arc: From episode 5 onwards, the series focus on Odum's amnesia and what led to it.
    • Season 2 now has Martin laying low in London as he tries to exonerate himself from the murder of the former FBI director. Also, more pre-2004 legends of his are revealed through flashbacks.
  • Put on a Bus: Everyone not played by Sean Bean as of Season 2.
  • Shout-Out: In the "Identity" episode, Odum discovers that he has an infrared tattoo on his arm reading 02TH-X11-38C3, a reference to THX 1138.
  • Terminally Ill Criminal: Invoked. Infiltrating an Anti-government terrorist organisation who is planning an attack, the group grows suspicious of Martin's persona as he keeps pushing to be part of the big attack, despite supposedly being a mild-mannered individual drawn to the cause due to the government failing his family who only joined four months ago, wondering why he was so willing to throw away his life. To reassure them, Martin lies that he has stage four brain cancer and only months left to live (his team providing falsified medical records to back up the claim) and is thus happy to give what's left of his life for the cause, convincing them he'd be the perfect suicide bomber.