DI John River (Skarsgård) is a Swedish-born London detective who works with his colleague, DS Jackie 'Stevie' Stevenson, a chirpy Cockney with a penchant for karaoke and takeaway food. There's just one problem... three weeks ago, she was murdered and so the Stevie in his head is basically one giant hallucination. And she's not the only one in his mind... victims, suspects and some Victorian serial killer called Thomas Cream also pop up at random.
As he tries to solve Stevie's murder, he has to deal with all of these 'ghosts' as well...
This show contains examples of:
- Cannot Spit It Out: River was very much in love with Stevie, and was about to tell her but she died before he received the opportunity. He finally manages to in the last episode.
- Dead All Along: In the final shot of the first scene it is revealed that Stevie is dead and is just a hallucination.
- Deadpan Snarker: River, Stevie, Chrissie... quite a few.
- Defective Detective: Oh, boy. River is downright psychotic, actively confronts his hallucinations (what appears to bystanders as talking to or punching invisible people) and had a significant problem with addiction (to alcohol, most likely). Being stubborn and abrasive doesn't make him any more friendly.
- Enemy Within: Thomas Cream insists he is this to River.
- Family Versus Career: The reason why Stevie became estranged from her family; becoming a policewoman threatened their less than savoury activities.
- Faux Affably Evil: Michael. He behaves like a friend to River, always offering him help whilst looking like a pleasant old man. In reality, he is a criminal who molested his thirteen-year old niece Stevie, before having their son kill her when she "betrayed" him.
- Foil: Ira, a calm, composed, friendly and diligent family man is this to River. It extends even to their appearance. Ira is of Middle Eastern descent (half Israeli, half Palestinian) while River looks like your average Scandinavian.
- Ghostly Goals: River's manifests tend to hang around until he has solved their case, before moving on. Including Stevie.
- Grumpy Bear: River. Oh so much.
- Historical-Domain Character: Thomas Cream.
- The Irish Mob: Stevie's family.
- Living Memory: They clearly exist entirely in River's head. It's also made clear that he's been having these visions since childhood.
- The Loins Sleep Tonight: Frankie is suffering from this problem on the night of Stevie's murder.
- Pretty Little Headshots: Averted. We see a large hole appear in the back of Stevie's head when it becomes obvious she's dead. Also, the black-and-white CCTV clip of her being shot is shown a good couple of dozen times, never getting any less horrifying.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: DCI Read, who does her best to keep River on the case even though the Superintendent is trying to get him removed.
- Even the Superintendent is fairly reasonable, it's only sensible that a man potentially suffering from schizophrenia be removed from the police force.
- Your Cheating Heart: Tom, Chrissie's husband. Many, many times.