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Series / Let the Right One In

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Let the Right One In is a series from Showtime. It is loosely based off the Swedish novel of the same name and its film adaptation.

The series centers on Mark and his daughter Eleanor, whose lives were changed 10 years earlier when she was turned into a vampire. Locked in at age 12, perhaps forever, Eleanor lives a closed-in life, able to go out only at night, while her father does his best to provide her with the human blood she needs to stay alive.

Meanwhile, dying scientist Arthur Logan tries to enlist his daughter Claire to help cure her brother Peter, a vampire whose death he'd faked years ago and kept sheltered in the years since.

This show provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Håkan in the novel is a pedophile with prurient motives in serving Eli. Mark, in contrast, is trying to keep his vampire daughter alive and find a cure.
    • Similarly Isaiah does not exhibit the murderous fantasies that Oskar did.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Eleanor seems this way to people unaware of her true age, acting and speaking older than the girl of twelve she apparently is. That's because she's a vampire who's chronologically twenty two.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Mark usually calls Eleanor Ellie (she's his daughter whom he's devoted to).
  • Age Lift: Eli in the book has been alive for hundreds of years. In the series she has only been a vampire for ten.
  • The Alcoholic: Isaiah's dad is an alcoholic, though he's now in AA.
  • Ascended Extra: Håkan is the novel's tritagonist. In contrast, Mark is the series' protagonist and Demián Bichir is the top-billed actor. To a lesser extent, Oskar's mom is a relatively minor character in the original novel and films. Here, Isaiah's mother is a major character.
  • Asshole Victim: When donating to Ellie using his and his wife's own blood was too taxing, instead Mark decided to target sex offenders in the area to drain theirs. However, this didn't work out in residential areas, as he almost got caught when leaving hastily after murdering one, which made him back into a car.
  • Blank White Eyes: The vampire who attacks Naomi and her partner has his eyes entirely white, which freaks both of them out (they don't realize that he's not a human).
  • Boom, Headshot!:
    • In "Broken Glass" Naomi shoots the killer she's been tracking (really a vampire, though she isn't aware of that) in the chest multiple times (as she's trained to) before finally shooting him in the head after the rest don't even slow him. This kills him, and leaves her spooked.
    • Mark saves Eleanor from Matthew with a gunshot to his head.
  • Canon Foreigner: Arthur, Claire and Peter are not in the book or any of the films.
  • Christianity is Catholic: The Kanes are Catholics, or at least they were, with Mark having severe doubts as a result of what they suffered (his deceased wife Elizabeth had been the most religious one). Given the family is Latino, this isn't surprising, since Catholicism is the majority religion among Latinos.
  • Confessional: Mark confesses to a priest about his sins and spends a long time inside of one relating his story when doing so there.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Mark just happens to have an apartment beside the ex-wife of the man he just killed, and she's also a police detective investigating murders he's linked with.
  • Demoted to Extra: Isaiah, Oskar's counterpart, is no longer the protagonist but a supporting character.
  • Disappeared Dad: Isaiah's dad is a deadbeat alcoholic who's in and out of his life, to his mom's anger. She goes along with their having contact though for his sake. He's murdered soon after being introduced.
  • Faking the Dead: Arthur claimed that Peter, his son, was fatally wounded by a bear. He'd actually been bitten by a vampire, becoming one too. Arthur faked his death and kept him a secret since, trying to find a cure, only telling his daughter Claire as a result of Arthur's having cancer, enlisting her to carry on his work.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: A drug dealer's enforcer who hunts down Mark served in the US Army Special Operations.
  • Gang of Bullies: Isaiah is picked on and extorted by boys at his school.
  • Gender Flip: Eli in the novel is a castrated boy. Eleanor is a girl.
  • Genre Savvy: Zeke was very helpful when Eleanor first became a vampire, as he'd seen a lot of vampire movies and had some idea what was going on. He didn't hesitate after first seeing Eleanor leaning hungrily near her mom with bared fangs, but got her blood (that her dad donated) and gave them other pointers after that.
  • God Is Good: Eleanor's mom told her this after she became infected by the vampire virus, insisting that although God doesn't always tell them everything, a ray of hope remains (in her case, finding the original host and a cure). Deconstructed however when Mark repeats what she said at her grave, saying he can't just cling to that anymore since they need something more tangible.
  • Heroic Suicide: This is essentially what happened with Elizabeth. Seeing no other way, she cut her wrist and let Eleanor drain her blood entirely for Eleanor's survival.
  • I Am a Monster: Mark admits when speaking to his dead wife while visiting her grave that he's become a monster, no longer expecting redemption for murdering so many people.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Eleanor is clearly unhappy with being a vampire and never growing up as a result. She touchingly cooks her dad a dinner because he made her breakfast, also wanting to befriend Isaiah. Her dad goes along with the first part, but has to warn against being around Isaiah since she's dangerous if hungry.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • Isaiah slowly realizes that Eleanor isn't an ordinary girl, as a result of her glowing eyes and never eating. She confesses that her eyes glow from seeing in the dark, and she's incapable of eating anything but blood. Though the word "vampire" isn't used, clearly Isaiah knows what this means from the look on his face. All this is after the audience had seen from the beginning that she's a vampire.
    • Isaiah and his mother Naomi also don't know what became of his dad at first. They don't learn he's dead (killed in the pilot) until the fifth episode.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Mark, after being knocked out by Matthew and held prisoner, then gets tortured for information. Matthew, who served in the US armed forces, is implied to have done this before. He claims that torture is effective with the right execution, and gleans information from Mark not just by his answers but non-verbal reactions to his questions. The only torture he has to engage in with Mark is removing a fingernail. A compatriot of his continues to torture Mark after he leaves however, as punishment for (he thinks) harming another member in their crew, who removes all his other fingernails then starts on Electric Torture when Eleanor's arrival interrupts things.
  • Lighter and Softer: Much of the original novel's darkness and horrific content (especially in relation to child abuse) is toned down or removed entirely.
  • Love Confession: Isaiah confesses that he loves Eleanor after she saves him from a man who'd come after them in her apartment.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Mark has become a serial killer and murdered over a hundred people to keep his beloved daughter Eleanor alive.
  • Love-Obstructing Parents: Eleanor is in mutual love with Isaiah, wanting to be with him as he accepts her being a vampire while very few would. Mark, her father, gently says that it can't be, since his mother is a cop who could expose their crimes. Eleanor is left heartbroken as a result.
  • Missing Mom: Eleanor's mom is dead by the present, with her dad Mark visiting her grave in "Intercessors".
  • Mythology Gag: Eleanor rescuing Mark from Claire's men is presented in a similar fashion to the Swedish film's scene of Eli rescuing Oskar from the bullies; we see Mark up close while Eleanor dismembers the thugs mostly offscreen behind him, complete with a severed head being flung away.
  • Nice Guy: Isaiah is a cheerful boy who's always kind to everyone.
  • Not Growing Up Sucks: Eleanor is a vampire girl who's stuck permanently as twelve, physically anyway. She isn't happy at this, still having to blend in by appearing like a tween even though mentally she's more mature.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Mark hallucinates the priest he spoke to saying he's not that different from the men who'd captured and tortured him, noting how he'd murdered Isaiah's father after he begged for release so Eleanor could feed on his blood. As it's Mark's hallucination, he's thinking this about his crime due to guilt.
  • Oh, Crap!: In "Intercessions" Mark sees a photo of Isaiah's father when he goes to pick up Eleanor at his house, realizing he's the man whom he'd murdered. Not only that, but then Isaiah's mother tells him she's a homicide detective with the NYPD. You can see the succession of dismayed emotions that Mark just manages to cover.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Sunlight burns them, they have extreme strength, speed, must be invited to enter someone's home and freeze at the age they were when turned (as tween vampire Eleanor shows).
  • Papa Wolf: Mark will do anything to help his daughter Eleanor, even putting himself in danger and killing people for blood so she can feed.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Eleanor, as a result of being a vampire, can take grown men down with her increased strength although she's stuck physically twelve forever.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Mark and Naomi share a kiss at one point. Håkan never met Oskar's mother in the book or films and never had eyes for anyone other than Eli.
  • Race Lift: In the original story the characters are all white. Here Mark (based on Håkan) and Eleanor (who originally had been Eli) are Latino. Isaiah (based on Oskar) is black.
  • Reality Has no Subtitles: Mark speaks in untranslated Spanish at times.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Mark (Håkan's equivalent) is the father of Eleanor (originally Eli) here. Originally they weren't related at all.
  • The Renfield:
    • Mark, vampire Eleanor's dad, provides for her by letting her feed on his blood, plus other people's whom he's killed. He moves them around repeatedly seeking other vampires hoping to find a cure too, and for her safety so they aren't discovered.
    • Claire and her henchman Matthew also serve as this for her brother Peter, who has become a vampire, providing him with blood but also killing people who are or could be threats.
  • Serial Killer: Mark has murdered over a hundred people to get their blood for Eleanor, along with killing those who could threaten her. He admits he's become a monster in the Season 1 finale.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Discussed by Naomi, who shows Eleanor that most attackers will grab her by the wrist. This is subverted as a weakness since she then teaches Eleanor how the female subject of this can then counter it very effectively, rather than be vulnerable to the attacker. Eleanor of course already is quite able to handle herself, despite having a twelve year old's body physically, given she's a vampire with super strength and speed.
  • Super Speed: Vampires can move with stunning speed, to the point it can seem like they vanished (Eleanor uses this with the impromptu "vanishing act" that she performs for Isaiah).
  • Super Strength: Vampires are far stronger than humans, so that even Eleanor (physically twelve) can throw around adults.
  • Vampire Invitation: Vampires need to be invited in. Eleanor covers this by claiming that her dad says it's impolite to go into someone's home without asking first.
  • The Virus: In the series vampirism is explictly the result of a virus that any person who's bitten will become infected by (assuming they survive).
  • Weakened by the Light: As usual, vampires here are harmed by sunlight. It's shown in the very first scene as a young male vampire, Peter, starts to burn when the light hits him, and with Eleanor later as well. Peter gets left with hideous burns.