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The cast of New Zealand's longest running serial circa 2011.
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Shortland Street is a New Zealand Soap Opera set in an hospital on Shortland Street in the fictitious Auckland suburb of Ferndale. It focuses on the lives of the physicians, surgeons, nurses, and hospital staff that work there, along with their families and friends who all live in Ferndale.


Is it Tropes or is it me?:

  • Acceptable Targets: In-universe, Nick Harrison was this for nearly everybody in the early years of the show. Everybody from Steve Mills to local priest Father Rigby seemed to have very little time for the troublemaking loudmouthed teenager. Steve referred to Nick as "the family dog," and Father Rigby called Nick "a little twerp" Stuart was too good to be wasting his time on.
  • Accidental Murder: Sass killed Mason in self-defense, in spite of all he'd done.
  • Action Girl: Kirsty Knight might have been the show's first Ms. Fanservice, but she was also a badass in her own right, not afraid to stand up to anyone corrupt or untrustworthy in her 6 years on the show. It almost got her killed a few times.
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  • Affably Evil: Greg Feeney was a charming guy with a friendly enough personality. He was also a drug dealer and could dish out a good beating, as Harry Martin once found out.
  • All Abusers Are Male: Nick's father Barry, Cameron Scott's mother's partner and Michael Kruse's stepfather were all abusive partners to their female lovers.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys:
    • Tuesday Warner develops a slight crush on Wiremu Potae and even tries her hand at being "gangsta" to fit in with him.
    • Minnie Crozier's list of boyfriends included a street-kid, a neo-nazi, a womanizer and a control freak.
  • Alpha Bitch: Seem to crop up from time-to-time, mainly at Ferndale High. The earliest example of this was Rachel Mckenna's rival Charlotte Olson. Stuck-up? Check. Tried to make Rachel's life a nightmare? Check. Got a girl's academic award taken off her for getting pregnant? Bullying Minnie Crozier? Manipulating all those around her? Check, check, check.
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  • Always Second Best: Usually the case for Nick Harrison as far as Stuart Neilson went. Stuart got the respect, the girls and the jobs, Nick got treated like a leper in comparison. Originally played straight and then subverted with Nick and future wife Waverley. Waverley originally wanted Stuart until she realised she loved Nick.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Leonard Dodds may have had autism, but it was never officially confirmed.
  • Amoral Attorney: Hugo Carmont was introduced as Mark Weston's lawyer friend who helped get Eti Kawaka and Claire Solomon cleared from accusations of being the person doing home invasions in 2005. Hugo himself was one doing the invasions.
  • Anyone Can Die: And it's especially become less discriminate in later years. Long-time characters Toni Warner and Sarah Potts were both killed off after 7 and 10 years on the show respectively.
  • Artistic License – Law: The Hannah family are instantly kicked out of their house by their landlord when she walks in on Curtis and Jack smoking cannabis. New Zealand tenancy law requires landlords to a) give 48 hours' notice before visiting unless it is an emergency, and b) give at least 90 days' notice of termination, unless the landlord gets an order from the Tenancy Tribunal.
  • Asshole Victim: This show is fond of this trope. Notable examples include Darryl Neilson, Bernie Leach, Oscar Henry, Ethan Pierce and Brett Franklin who all committed terrible crimes before being murdered by someone that they had tormented.
  • Audience Surrogate: Whenever the show had an Aesop to deliver in the very early days of the show be it teen pregnancy, contraception or AIDS, Marj would be the one to be misinformed or voice ignorant opinions before being corrected, usually by Meredith Fleming.
  • Back for the Dead
    • After being Put on a Bus in 1995, Dr. Michael Mckenna made two brief returns: Once in 1997, and then again at the end of 1998 which lasted into early 1999. At the end of Mckenna's second return stint, he died of a heart attack as actor Paul Gittins had ruled out any future returns and wanted the character to be killed off.
    • Original receptionist Marj Brasch left the show in 1996 after being elected to Parliament. She made brief returns in 2002 (for Nick and Waverley's wedding), in 2012 (for the show's 20th anniversary) and in 2017 (for the show's 25th anniversary special). In her 2017 appearance, she dies quietly sitting in the reception from age-related heart problems.
    • Julia Reinhart (nee Reynolds) came back with her new husband Dylan in 2018 only to be murdered by Dylan so he could have Kylie Brown, Julia's sister to himself.
  • Back from the Dead: Lionel Skeggins makes a brief cameo appearance in the 25th anniversary special, 18 years after he supposedly died.
  • Battleaxe Nurse: Robonurse Carrie Burton and Judy Brownlee seemed to be this until it was revealed they were more firmly in Jerk With A Heartof Gold territory. Both were grumpy older women who expected nothing but the utmost professionalism from their nurses and took no guff from anyone while on the clock.
  • Big Bad: Mason Coutts ended up being a rare case of this because as Mayor of Ferndale as well as being the leader of a corrupt syndicate of thugs, Mason wound up doing wrong by multiple characters whether personally or by extension. As a matter of fact, every single cliffhanger in the 2016 Season Finale turned out to be connected to Mason in some way, and the show's 25th anniversary heavily featured Mason finally being taken down.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Ethan Pierce and his Nessus Bio co-owner/funeral director Stirling Haldane. Stirling stole bodies, Stirling helped him harvest them. Ethan then turned on Stirling and bumped him off once Stirling became a liability.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Sunil Kumari may have been a bit of a prick, and while part of it was because of his preferential trade agreement with Dinesh Jivani's family and his mistrust of Scotty, he was in part looking out for his little sister, Shanti.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Any time any of the characters speak in Maori.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Streetkid Dominique Coombes had a rough life, with a father who beat her and then having to turn tricks for a living. That was still no excuse to use James Thornton as a patsy, while admitting to his mother that she was only leading him on. While Dominique was never presented as being nice, up until that point she'd been presented as showing Jerk with a Heart of Gold tendencies.
  • Bi the Way: Nicole Miller-Kruse. Apparently new doctor Lincoln Kimiora who after dumping his boyfriend, slept with the now separated Nicole.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: And not at all how Gerald got his warning for looking up porn on work computers from Callum with the knowledge of his affair with Riley.
  • Brainless Beauty: Dawn Robinson. Beautiful, blonde and completely braindead. Jed the gym instructor Gina Rossi briefly dated was a male version, also notable for being played by the late Kevin Smith. (No, not THAT Kevin Smith. Kevin Smith, the Kiwi actor.)
  • Break the Haughty: Hoo boy, did Jerk Jock Casanova Hunter Mckay arrive to Ferndale with an ego. 2007 started with Hunter and his equally materialistic sister Sophie bullying Scarlett Valentine to the point she tried to run him down and left her taking off for Australia after Hunter slept with Scarlett, dumped her and then ran her down to anyone within earshot, breaking Scarlett's heart. At the end of the year, Hunter would end up a blubbering mess in a driveway after older woman Tess Adamson fled Ferndale after Hunter proposed to her, breaking HIS heart at the end of 2007, in somewhat of an ironic bookend.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Nick Harrison wound up turning into this when he was a high school student, being fantastic with numbers and a star economics student, eventually getting a business degree at University. When he finally got his shit together as an adult, he became a very good and very effective business manager at Shortland Street Hospital under Chris Warner.
  • Broken Bird: In a deconstruction of The Vamp, Brooke Freeman was originally introduced, she was presented as a seductress unafraid to use her sexuality to get ahead. It was revealed that deep down, Brooke was a neurotic wreck with an extremely fucked up family life and was in an abusive relationship with Ethan Pierce to the point she couldn't see herself as anything BUT a sex object.
  • Call-Back:
    • Once Claire Solomon was found dead in a dumpster, having been the first victim of Joey Henderson, they threw in a nod to Craig Valentine's rivalry over Sarah Potts with Claire's brother Andrew, referring to Andrew as "some geeky little number cruncher."
    • Lily Scorpion, Morgan Braithwaite's alter-ego/comic book character was the name Lionel Skeggins used as a ghost writer for a magazine, several years prior.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Tuesday Warner did this in spectacular fashion. After spending most of her life babysitting her drug-addled father Guy, and following a car crash which almost killed Tuesday, Guy, her cousin Harry and her aunt Toni, Tuesday chewed Guy out for being a poor father and told him that if given the option, she'd rather live with her uncle Chris instead.
  • Captain Ersatz: Leroy Raumati seems to have been hastily written in to replace his cousin Curtis Hannah after the unexpected departure of Curtis' actor. Leroy still sounds like a younger Curtis.
  • Characterisation Marches On: A lot of characters tend to fall under this as the writers start with a base personality and expand the characters as they get to know the actors. Sometimes this will happen within weeks.
    • Rangi Heremaia was originally a stereotypical northern "cuzzy-bro", Lionel Skeggins was an immature prankster, Tiffany Pratt was a bimbo party-girl who wore lingerie to work, TK Samuels was a laidback slacker and Nick Harrison was a juvenile delinquent before they became the characters they're more well-known as.
    • Blue Nathan was a teenage tearaway who got into a fight after stealing from the hospital in his first episode, something it's hard to see the current version of Blue doing. Ditto Blue's mother Kate who assaulted Jack, the teenager Blue got into the aforementioned scuffle with. Kate originally came across as a street tough tomboy, strange when you see the motherly and feminine Kate she turned into.
    • Craig Valentine was a lot more laidback in his first appearance on the show, coming across as a level-headed, laidback Troll. Craig Valentine, the same character notorious for being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold whose short-fuse was a central point in several storylines.
    • David Kearney got a kick out of trolling Johnny Marinovich in his first week on the show and seemed a lot less serious than he'd go on to become.
  • Character Outlives Actor: Chic Littlewood passed away a few years ago, but his character, Laurie Brasch was referred to as still being alive when Marj showed up in 2017.
  • Chick Magnet: Evan Cooper managed quite well for a Ridiculously Average Guy. He managed to wrangle some of Ferndale's hottest women, even older women Marnie Dougan and Kylie Brown at various points. Stuart Neilson managed to draw them in too.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Where did Sean Kearney get to? After leaving in 1996, the writers seemed to forget David Kearney had 2 sons. While Fergus played a prominent role from 1996-2001, Sean never returned and his actor didn't show up again until 2008 playing a completely different character.
  • The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: Ant Richards went on the run for 2 years only to summon Sarah Potts and Craig Valentine to a house to show them his research on how dodgy Scott-Spear were. Craig thought he was totally nuts until he confirmed a few things Craig had suspicions of. Because of Ant's evidence, Scott-Spear were taken down and their CEO was arrested.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Crazy nurse Layla Cornwall was this for Nelson Copeland. She eventually hung herself after Nelson got back together with his ex-girlfriend Jesse.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Since 2007, staff scrubs are colour-coded according to their department. Until 2017, female nurses wore lilac, male nurses wore dark blue, emergency department staff wore light blue, theatre staff wore purple, and orderlies wore oatmeal. Starting in 2017, the nurses started wearing maroon and theatre staff stated wearing teal.
  • Condescending Compassion: Tiffany tried to give Dr Emily Devine a makeover to make her less of a Hollywood Nerd and told her such in no uncertain terms. Emily told her where to go.
  • Continuity Nod: In 2010, Callum Mckay stated that Shortland Street didn't throw Halloween parties anymore, due to Brenda Holloway's murder back in 2007.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • In the mid 2010's, such anomalies as Grace Kwan's twins suddenly disappearing via Chuck Cunningham Syndrome and Jonathon Mckenna being attracted to Gabrielle Jacobs in spite of being 100 percent gay until he reappeared. Both were Hand Waved later.
    • Chris Warner celebrated his 40th birthday in 2005 and his 50th birthday in 2017.
  • Corrupt Cop: Sgt Clint Allen spent most of 2017/2018 making life hell for the Hannahs and playing the "I'm a cop" card when they tried to retaliate.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Jay Copeland was supposed to leave Ferndale for Australia and put her ex-wife Maia behind her and make a new start. She ended up being the 3rd victim of the Ferndale Strangler.
  • Custom Uniform of Sexy: Tiffany Pratt tried to go full lingerie with her uniform complete with high heels. While her character changed, she still retained her sexier version of the nurse's uniform complete with white stockings and garters.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Kieran Mitchell came to New Zealand remembering nothing of his past. He would eventually be killed off in 2010 having his chickens come home to roost by way of his criminal past in Thailand catching up to him.
    • Hone Ropata returned in 2008 with an absolutely horrific case of PTSD due to witnessing multiple murders and rapes in Africa along with the bombing of his clinic.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Jason Daniel era from 2007-2009, which featured crueler, more sadistic villains than in previous eras, previous characters coming back as darker and more troubled versions of themselves and most characters leaving were killed off. It was during this period that the show got three Broadcast Standards Authority warnings in six months, having gone 16 years without even receiving one!
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Luke Durville. Into voodoo, taxidermy and other matters of the macabre with a socially awkward personality. Luke Durville. Also one of the nicest people you could ever meet.
  • Date Rape Averted: Kirsty Knight fought off Darryl Neilson. Libby Jeffries was rescued from Justin Salt by her sister's boyfriend Ant Richards.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Samara Hindmarsh wasn't really Samara Hindmarsh. An identity thief named Lily Jansen, "Samara" came back to New Zealand in 2001 to establish a relationship with "childhood friend" Chris Warner. Upon getting into a feud with Rachel Mckenna, "Samara" got engaged to Chris Warner before being revealed as a fraud by the real Samara's parents.
  • Death of a Child: Rose Crozier-Kearney tragically died of cot death in 1998. Tama and Shannon Hudson's baby boy Ngakau died of an illness in 2003.
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • Played with a lot in the early days of the show, where Dr. Mckenna was depicted as either a Father to His Men or a greedy, self-serving Jerkass who was as bad, if not worse as some of the dodgier clinic CEOs.
    • Ferndale is often depicted as a large suburb within Auckland, but at other times, it is an expy of Auckland.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Jason Kirkpatrick beneath his original facade of being a fun flirty guy was this. Jason turned out to be Dr Finn Connelly's stalker who went by the name "Sexy Eyes" online, going as far to break into Finn's house and watch him sleep. After being revealed, Jason would kidnap Finn's girlfriend Esther before leaving her to die due to her heart condition (she survived) and then hide out in Finn's operating room and attempt to force himself on Finn.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Steve Mills crossed it after his girlfriend Sarah Donnelly died in his arms on her birthday. Steve tried to hide his grief before breaking down.
  • Determinator: Rangi Heremaia managed to learn to walk again despite being confined to a wheelchair for most of 96-97.
  • Does Not Like Men: Te Rongopai Rameka can't shut up about how awful men are. Unless she's in a relationship, in which case they're fine. Yes, this is another instance of the writing team in 2019 writing things they don't know and being unable to write a realistic feminist.
  • Domestic Abuse: Initially done badly and then played horrifyingly straight with Finn Warner in 2018. Originally being treated as a leper because he lightly shoved Esther off of him as a reflex, he would later snap, slap Esther and then assault her in his kitchen. Done earlier with Bernie Leach, Cameron Scott's mother's boyfriend Kevin and Jemima Hampton-Rees' partner Patrick.
  • Doom Magnet: Chris Warner and TK Samuels have both had their share of dead wives and girlfriends between them along with several dead family members a piece.
  • Dull Surprise: Daniel Potts' girlfriend Loren Fitzpatrick back in 2010 had one facial expression: Mildly wide-eyed and teeth clenched. There's phoning it in, and there's turning it into a talent.
  • Dr. Jerk: Dr Justin Salt was a shitty human being AND a rapist to boot. The only good thing about the guy is he WASN'T the Ferndale Strangler as originally suspected. His friend, Dr Gavin Capper partook in the same rape Justin did, but at least he had SOME people skills.
  • Drugs Are Bad:
    • Played straight with Guy Warner. After finding out about his addiction, his brother Chris tries desperately to get him into rehab, which he eventually agrees to, but not before causing a car crash which injured Tuesday and Harry, and nearly killed him and Toni. Even after rehab, he relapses, much to Tuesday's horror. In 2017, a nurse named Deb was found to be a morphine addict and was shown to be a total loser so as if to say "hey kids, if you do drugs, you'll end up a drug thief, a bad nurse AND a horrible parent!"
    • Drugs caused the dramatic season finale of 2011 with Hunter Mckay's drug addiction spiraling out of control for half of the year.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Modern viewers would be confused to see that prior to 2000, the Hospital was originally a small clinic set in an entirely different building. This was due to filming being done in a different location to where it's done now with very few sets making the transition.
    • In the first 6 months of the show, American bands like Pearl Jam were used as background music. This proved costly so they switched to Kiwi bands as backing music.
  • Easy Amnesia: Rachel Mckenna got struck by lightning in 1998 causing her to change from a Deadpan Snarker into a kind woman with a massive crush on Nick. It took a small electric shock from a malfunctioning lamp to switch her back.
  • Elder Abuse: Mark Shawn, Rangi's new ambulance partner in 1998 turned out to be the mystery culprit breaking into the homes of old people and putting them in hospital before being caught by Donna Heka.
  • Elevator Failure: The Shortland Street Hospital lift is infamous for breaking down at the most inconvenient time.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Even Ethan Pierce was disgusted when his body-harvesting partner Stirling Haldane's intentional negligence led to a 10 year old boy becoming infected with HIV due to Haldane forging a death certificate for a 59 year old hooker.
    • Kieran Mitchell tried to force Ethan to buy his shares in Nessus Bio since while Kieran had dodgy contacts, he drew the line with what Ethan was doing.
    • The only thing which kept Darryl Neilson from being a complete scumbag was the fact he genuinely loved his wife and kids.
  • Evil All Along:
    • Rangi's new ambulance partner Mark Shawn turned out to be the sick freak who'd been invading homes and beating the elderly, the very crime Rangi got accused of in 1998 before he'd even been introduced on-screen.
    • Ditto Hugo Carmont in 2005. He was revealed to have been the home invader who drove the Harrisons out of Ferndale months before he was introduced.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Kane Harvey was a remorseless thug, who was less evil than the Hitman Don Lennox, and both of them answered to the head of Scott-Spear John Grainger who was killing people with dodgy drugs AND ordering the murder of anyone trying to shut them down.
  • Evil, Inc..: The Pharmaceutical company Scott-Spear who was conducting unethical research and had a tendency to put hits out on people when they were close to uncovering the truth.
  • Evil Old Folks: Ian Reid, the father of Tank Reid was revealed in September 2018 to be the Beechwood Beast, a serial rapist in his 60's. He murdered a former cop and beat Zoe Carlson so badly she miscarried her baby.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Mackenzie Choat, the sadistic psychiatrist vs Oscar Henry, the manipulative rapist. Mackenzie almost won by blowing up Oscar's hospital room with him in it and stealing all of the money he had embezzled from the clinic prior. She was then swindled by Affably Evil ex-drug dealer Greg Feeney upon trying to leave New Zealand.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Finn Warner, who has attracted crazies of both genders. First he had Ashley Whitley lusting after him, and then crazy orderly Jason.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: Played straight during the Ferndale Strangler storyline with several leaked potential endings showing Callum Mckay and Justine Jones, James Scott and Luke Durville as alternate killers.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Josh Gallagher once his Hero Syndrome kicked in and he started putting people's lives in danger. Isaac Worthington pulled this once he went drunk on riches in 2011. Zac Smith did this upon his third appearance in 2012.
  • Faking the Dead: Justine Jones in 2008. When Scott-Spear hired a hitman who planted a mobile-phone-activated bomb in her car, she used it to her advantage by switching the SIM card with her own phone's, activating the bomb to convince the company she was dead and fled to Australia.
  • Fat Bastard: Bernie Leach. Rotund, slimy and dishonest, Bernie was also a verbally and physically abusive husband to Carla. Carla was no angel, but she didn't deserve what Bernie did to her.
  • Faux Affably Evil:
    • Dominic Thompson and Darryl Neilson could both switch on charm when need be, but were, for the most part, complete and total scumbags with no redeeming qualities.
    • Simon Churchill seemed charming and articulate until it turned out he was a hooker-beating misogynist.
  • Flat Character: Even Paolo Rotundo described Andrew Solomon as this, citing his reason for leaving the show due to Andrew being "the most boring fucking character on the show" and saying "I can't fucking do anything with this guy."
  • Flanderization: TK Samuels started out as Huia's laid-back cousin who was highly self-confident although kind, like a Lovable Jock without the sporting background, who occasionally lost his temper under understandable circumstances, i.e. when the Ferndale Police referred to Alice as "The Victim" after being kidnapped by Ferndale Strangler and Serial Killer Joey Henderson rather than her name. From 2010 until 2016, TK turned into an arrogant alpha male more akin to a Jerk Jock who often lost his temper, threatened other characters, bullied others and flew off the handle with minimal provocation. He slowly started reverting back to a similar personality to his old self come 2017.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Jack and Curtis Hannah. Jack is the intelligent, academic gay one, Curtis is the Troubled, but Cute manwhore with a rap sheet and a heart of gold. Interestingly, the Hannah Brothers meet the original cast notes for Nick Harrison and Stuart Neilson from 24 years prior to the letter.
  • Foreshadowing: How did Joey Henderson know that Claire Solomon's body was wrapped up in plastic unless he was the one who killed her? As a matter of fact, most of Joey's murders had foreshadowing set up subtly, to make sense once he was revealed but to not have been obvious unless you knew what they were going for.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Dr Eve Reston originally seemed rather quirky and unable to express emotion properly while maintaining a very, very fucked up idea of what made a strong woman. Then things took a dark turn when it was revealed Eve had been killing patients and harvesting body parts in order to perform research in the name of "science," all while framing a drug addict nurse named Deb for the murder of one patient in particular. All of a sudden this woman who seemed like a feminist Captain Ersatz of Gabrielle Jacobs was a Distaff Counterpart to Ethan Pierce instead.
  • Feuding Families: The Crombies and Heywoods in the brief time they intersected in 2001. Eventually, the Crombies left town because of the Heywoods.
  • Fun Personified: Kip Denton was a wild and wacky guy who ended up becoming on of the show's most popular characters.
  • Frontier Doctor: Subverted with Dr. Hone Ropata, as in the first episode he has returned from a stint in the jungles of Guatemala.
  • Hand Wave: Zac Smith was certainly never a sex offender during his first two runs on the show. So you'd think there'd be some explanation as to why he suddenly became a sociopath in his third run. You'd be wrong. All that we got in the way of an explanation was Rachel Mckenna telling Sarah Potts that "you can know someone for a while without actually knowing them," then never mentioning him again.
  • Happily Ever After: Kip Denton and Alice Piper's final appearance featured Kip becoming Alice's Victorious Childhood Friend and had them frolicking down a beach in beautiful Rarotonga.
  • Happily Married: In a rarity for the soap, Nick and Waverley Harrison are still together as of 2017, with 6 kids to boot!
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Toni Thompson was this to start with before mellowing out and settling down after having her and Chris' son Harry. Alice Piper stayed this way and was well-known for her partying ways.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Daniel Potts became a model citizen after a boot camp in 2009. Fergus Kearney became one of the good guys upon his release from a youth detention centre for burning his aunt's house down. A good guy who occasionally made really, really stupid decisions, but not an antagonistic person anymore by any means.
    • Former Stalker with a Crush Jason Kirkpatrick returned in 2018, medicated and under the new name Sebastian St. John. Not long after he returned he saved Esther's life by calling an ambulance after finding her down an alleyway, signifying his good guy status.
  • Heel Realisation: Jim Matheson upon being confronted by Martin "Sticky" Stickwell in regards to raping Barbara Heywood. After months of denial, Jim realised what he'd done after Sticky told him about how when he didn't get his way, he used force.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Craig Valentine knew it was all over once his heart problems started kicking in while being pursued by Don Lennox and his thugs. Nonetheless, he sacrified himself to help take down Scott-Spear once and for all.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: The blooper show Naughty Shorty aired in 2012 as part of the 20th anniversary. An updated version of Naughty Shorty screened in 2017 as part of the 25th anniversary.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Someone had gone around Ferndale beating up prostitutes in 1993. Evil nursing manager Paul Churchill was uncovered as the culprit when he was busted by Carmen Roberts taping his ribs which had been bruised by a hooker fighting back.
  • Hollywood Healing: Rangi Heremaia went from being in a wheelchair to fully able to walk with no problems whatsoever in the space of a year.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Dr Emily Devine complete with stereotypical large glasses and lab coat from 1995-1996.
  • House Fire: Used a few times in the show's early years. Tom Neilson almost burned down his house, Ellen Crozier burned hers down with a cigarette after falling asleep. Then you had Fergus Kearney burning his aunt Liz Stokes' house down.
  • Humiliation Conga: Smug DHB consultant Martha Riley got this as a fitting end to her tenure at Shortland Street. Showing up to micromanage the hospital with a vendetta against Chris Warner and managing to piss nearly every single staff member and HOD off with her smug bureaucratic behaviour, Riley installed Callum Mckay as the new CEO after trying to install Hone Ropata. Upon having an affair with the married Callum, Riley attempted to woo Callum away from his wife Justine at a suave dinner featuring Callum, Justine, Chris and her PA Libby Jeffries. Savagely rejected by Callum, Riley, drunk and humiliated would attempt to call out Justine only to have Callum tell her to shut up. The next day, her final day at Shortland Street, Riley would get chewed out by Justine, chewed out by Libby who Riley tried to blame for the hospital knowing about her behaviour, chewed out by Craig in her final debriefing and final broke upon seeing Callum and Justine sitting at the foot of the table, holding hands.
  • Hypocrite: Te Rongopai Rameka, DHB appointed 2IC of the hospital came in while Chris was on holiday, accused Chris of nepotism by giving his children and girlfriend jobs, while getting her nephew a job on hospital grounds. Te Rongopai claimed to be a feminist, all while slut-shaming Chris' pregnant girlfriend Zoe. Te Rongopai also used her anti-Warner agenda to try and prevent Finn Warner from being reinstated under the guise of "looking out for his wife" and abuse victim Esther. When Esther told Te Rongopai where to stick it, Te Rongopai tried exposing Finn and Zoe's affair as a plan B.
  • If I Can't Have You...: Hugo Carmont made the lives of those around the target of his obsession, Mark Weston's lives a living hell simply because they were taking away from his time with Mark.
  • Insistent Terminology: Pele Kruse-Miller's name absolutely *must* be pronounced with a hard B as is traditional in the Samoan language. No exceptions.
  • It Runs in the Family: Luke Billingham became a father at 16, just like his father Lionel. Rachel Mckenna is an alcoholic, just like her father Michael. Phoenix Raynor was involved in a few love triangles, just like his dad Chris.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Depending on how wrong you think Kip Denton was when it came to being a dope-growing slob, the house he, Scotty and Shanti lived in WAS Kip's house. Shanti had no right going through his things, and certainly had no right to act entitled when Kip told her she had made him feel like a stranger in his own home.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Nick was this as he went through adolescence. Yeah, he made some boneheaded decisions and was a tad surly, especially when it came to Minnie Crozier, but he cared for her and his other friends deep down.
    • Kieran Mitchell had a lot of dodgy connections and died as he lived- not necessarily making the smartest life decisions. Underneath it all though, Kieran showed he was loyal to his friends and family several times during his run. The complexity made him a fan favourite with many wishing he would return one day.
    • An early example of this was nurse Carrie Burton. Nicknamed "Robonurse" by the other staff for her cold, efficient, stoicly professional manner, underneath it all, Carrie was a loving and motherly woman which became apparent when she gave birth to her triplets Frank, Finbar and Sarah.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Cam Mccaskill got off scot-free despite slipping several times in regards to his drug habit. His boyfriend's brother Curtis Hannah wasn't so lucky, taking the proverbial bullet and getting sent to jail for one such transgression.
    • Unless Eve Reston returns with Boyd's kids, she got away with murder and body harvesting
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Isaac Worthington manipulated, conned and almost murdered his way into leaving Ferndale rich. After having his trust fund frozen once he escaped to the Philippines, Isaac ended up stranded and penniless in a foreign land with no way back to Ferndale. Mackenzie Choat deserved to be doublecrossed and left broke by Greg Feeney in 1999.
  • Leit Motif:
    • "Anchor Me" by the Muttonbirds was one for Hunter Mckay and Tess Adamson's May–December Romance. Hunter requested it to a radio station as their song and it played again later that episode after they slept together for the first time. It popped up after Tess abandoned Hunter and broke his heart at the end of the year, while Hunter cried in her driveway being comforted by his father.
    • "Pink Frost" by the Chills was one for murderer Dominic Thompson. Makes sense considering the song is about murder.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Given its long run, this would be inevitable - as of May 2012, there have been over 220 core cast members and over 4000 guest roles.
  • Location Theme Naming: Waverley Wilson's family had the quirky tradition of naming children after the New Zealand towns they were conceived in: Waverley, her brother Stratford, her sisterAmberley (the only one named after a town outside the Taranaki region), and her cousin Eltham.
  • Long Bus Trip: Chris and Guy returned to Shortland Street after 5 and 11 years respectively. Guy outright stated when they left they were only supposed to have been gone for 2 weeks.
  • Long-Runner Cast Turnover: It first aired in 1992, and as of 2018 only one of the original cast members remains (Dr. Chris Warner).
  • Long-Runners: The first episode aired on 25 May 1992, and the show celebrated 26 years and nearly 7000 episodes in September 2018.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: A man named Hamish Flynn showed up claiming to be Yvonne Jeffries' long-lost son who she and her husband Ian adopted out when they were teenagers. He turned out to be a conman, but it wasn't long before the real Hamish showed up.
  • Magical Queer: Nearly every single gay guy and the occasional previously straight guy falls in love with and becomes a more complete and wonderful person due to the influence of Jack Hannah. Person enters Ferndale, meets Jack, either comes out of the closet or dumps their partner and falls head over heels.
  • Mercy Kill: Kylie Brown euthanising her mother Norelle.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: How Nick and Serena Hughes' relationship ended. Nick assumed Serena, like everyone else wanted to jump Stuart over him because they'd been spending so much time together. For once, he was wrong.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Before coming out as Asexual, Libby Jeffries thought her childhood friend Gerald was Camp Gay. It's the flamboyance, you see.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Many, many examples over the years, but Dr Daniel Buchanan was a triumphant example in the late 90's. Charming and handsome with a strong Australian accent, he was clearly there to draw in the show's female demographic.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Kip Denton was a great guy but loved his illegal narcotics quite a bit.
  • My Local: The IV Bar and Bistro has been Shortland Street's local since 2006. Various other bars have been locals in the past.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Ian Seymour ALMOST completed his Hostile Takeover of Shortland Street had it not been for Kirsty Knight's elite amateur sleuthing skills and the help of Dr David Kearney.
  • Nice Guy: Surprisingly given his supremely fucked-up upbringing, Ezra Whakapono is a genuinely nice kid.
  • Noble Bigot: Judy Brownlee was slightly racist and was slightly homophobic but was such that she was more a product of her upbringing than a bad person.
  • Not Blood Siblings:
    • Carmen Roberts and Greg Feeney, step-siblings who had a relationship in their teens after their parents were married.
    • Minnie Crozier dated her stepbrother Fergus Kearney on and off for several years
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent:
    • Dr. Li Mei Chen is from China, and yet she speaks with a flawless Kiwi accent.
    • Sophie and Hunter Mckay are both Australian, yet they don't even attempt to disguise their accents.
  • Older Than They Look: Angela Bloomfield looked the same age as Karl Burnett when she was younger despite being 4 years older. Tyler Read was an extremely convincing 15 year old for a 22 year old man. It helped that they invoked Teens Are Short.
  • One Steve Limit: To an extent. While there have been several shared first names over the years, you'll never have a shared first name between current characters.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Nobody knew him as "Dr Stickwell" or "Martin." It was nearly always "Sticky."
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • When the show featured an international doctor from the USA, his accent lasted about a week. Shanti Kumari had a rather thick Indian accent when she started, but at some point in 2008, Nisha Madran's native Kiwi accent started becoming more and more prominent until any prior accent was but a memory.
    • Ido Drent got better at muting his natural South African accent over time but he had a lot of slip-ups when he first took over the role of Daniel Potts.
  • Out of Focus: TK Samuels hasn't really had many storylines in 2018. After his brother's cult left, he's either been a background character or absent for weeks on end.
  • Police are Useless: Detective Lara Wade was more of an incompetent bully packing a guilty until found innocent mentality with any male suspects during the investigation of the Ferndale Strangler. She was called out by several characters for making up bullshit charges as she went along because she still didn't have a single lead by the end of 2007. Her undercover plant Tracey Morrison was almost as bad, being blatantly untrained as a nurse and getting kidnapped and non-fatally dumped in the rubbish by the Strangler to show he wasn't fucking around. Both would quit the force in disgrace in 2008.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: In conjunction with the Anvilicious nature of the early days of the show, almost every bit of dialogue out of racist ambulance driver Dennis Cracknell's mouth was a racial slur, calling the Maori and Pacific Island staff of the clinic "boongas" or "jungle bunnies." Upon meeting Dr Ropata, Dennis called Hone an orderly and appeared genuinely shaken-up that a Maori could be a doctor.
  • Post-Rape Taunt:
    • Zac Smith made a habit of this to anonymously torment TK and Roimata. He broke into their house and left her underwear on their bed and left a feather on their doorstep.
    • Ian Reid tormented Claire, one of his victims by calling her a whore who couldn't keep her legs shut. Naturally, this lead to Claire needing to be pulled off of him after trying to punch his face in.
  • Properly Paranoid: Ant Richards ran after Huia Samuels was killed by a carbomb attached to his car in 2006. He returned to help Craig Valentine and Justine Jones expose Scott Spear, watching over his shoulder the whole time, frightened they'd find him and kill him and telling anyone who'd listen the company was evil. After they killed Craig and attempted to kill Justine, Ant hauled arse again, point proven.
  • Psycho for Hire:
    • Don Lennox, mechanic by day, hitman by night. He was the one who torched Craig Valentine's car with him inside, he had members of the White Tails shoot up an operating theatre because Chris Warner visited him with knowledge of Scott-Spear executives and he was perfectly willing to murder Ethan Pierce for Kieran Mitchell.
    • Several of Mason Coutts' criminal associates were this, willing to bump off Mason's enemies or people who'd outlived their use.
  • Psycho Psychologist:
    • Dylan Reinhart engineered a car crash to kill his wife Julia after falling for her sister Kylie, was implied to have killed his first wife in the same way, sexually manipulated dozy town bicycle Dawn and began having Patrick Bateman-esque fantasies about how to kill Kylie's husband Frank while the two were out camping. He also helped Nicole Kruse-Miller through her post traumatic stress after being run over.
    • Mackenzie Choat blew up Oscar Henry and tried to rip off the clinic. While being genuinely in love with Lionel Skeggins, she lost the plot and started drugging his son Luke in order to keep him around after Lionel went missing.
  • Rape as Drama: Minnie Crozier, Kate Larsen and Barb Heywood. Averted with Kirsty Knight, she was supposed to have been raped by Darryl Neilson but Executive Meddling changed the storyline into Date Rape Averted instead. It wasn't until Minnie's rape six years later that the trope was played straight. Also played with Minnie's father, Ryan, having raped her mother when they were younger, leading to Minnie's conception. Leads to...
  • Really Gets Around: Par for the course with the type of show Shortland Street is, but special note must be given to Chris Warner, well-known as Doctor Love, who in his 21 years on the soap has fathered 7 children, been married 4 times and been in countless other relationships and that's BEFORE we even go into the number of one night stands he's had. Alice Piper managed to do a lot of bed-hopping in her 4 year tenure and was often mocked heavily by other characters for it.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Most of the people running the hospital fall under this provided the intention isn't to make them a Jerkass or a villain at some point. James "Scotty" Scott seemed like a Mean Boss at first in his role as nursing manager, but turned out to be this trope in action. While he could be a hardass, he also cared for his staff and treated them well provided they did their jobs.
  • Replacement Flat Character: Andrew Solomon was Chris Warner's replacement as CEO. Chris was well-known as a ladies man with a lot of character flaws. Andrew... was an office nerd who was a stickler for rules?
  • Retool: A hard one in 2001, two soft ones in 2006 and 2014. All 3 cleared out droves of cast members who were doing nothing, who were generally unpopular or old characters just treading water. All 3 were done to revitalise tanking ratings. The one in 2001 wiped out most of the old cast and replaced them with 16 new characters while the 2006 and 2014 ones were staggered and replaced less with less.
  • Right Behind Me: Dawn was standing right behind Lincoln in the IV the night he decided to voice his frustrations with her annoying personality. To be fair, he wasn't wrong.
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: Thirteen-year-old Pixie Hannah has never appeared to go to school, even though older brother Jack does. Granted she was battling cancer, but it doesn't explain the lack of correspondence or homeschooling either.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Sarah screeched "YOU AND YOUR BABY CAN GO TO HELL!" at Huia Samuels literally seconds before Huia detonated the carbomb attached to the car she was borrowing, killing her and her baby. Sarah felt immeasurable guilt afterwards.
  • Shipper on Deck: Nick Harrison once made a hell of a racket singing a song about how Gina Rossi and Leonard Dodds loved each other "like Romeo and Juliet" which accomplished nothing outside of pissing the normally mild-mannered Leonard off. On a kinder note, Nick also helped set Marj Neilson and Laurie Brasch up which was much better received.
  • Show Within a Show: Tides of the Heart, a favourite soap of Minnie Crozier back in the day.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome:
    • A mild case. Tuesday Warner was born in 1995. She comes back in 2007 at fourteen years old.
    • Tuesday's cousin Phoenix Raynor also went through this despite not being born onscreen, he turned 16 in 2011, but to be consistent with the established timeline of events on the show, his real birth year should be either 2000 or 2001.
    • Harry Warner was born in May 2002, however in August 2015 he was established as being 14 years old. More noticeable if you consider his deceased "girlfriend" Pixie Hannah was younger than him, but her birthday was established as a canon August 2001.
  • Silent Partner: In order to screw Sir Bruce Warner over while attempting to buy the clinic, Michael Mckenna made Bruce sign a contract which made him this, unbeknownst to Bruce himself until it was too late.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: How Sunil Kumari and Rebecca Scott hooked up. The two met in the middle of an attempted feud Sunil tried to start to prevent Scotty and Shanti from getting married, the two hurled racial slurs at each other which ended up getting Sunil beaten up by Hone Ropata and then the two hooked up realising they weren't so different, race and background be damned, mirroring their sister and brother respectively.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Tiffany Pratt seemed to be this, but then it turned out her family were a bunch of criminals and con artists. Tiffany tried to "upgrade" her image to distance herself from her embarrassing family.
  • Straw Feminist:
    • Frequently disappearing character Lily Flores only shows up to spout feminist/vegan/other social justice issue rhetoric, seemingly to make fun of know-it-all teenagers and young adults who don't really know it all.
    • Te Rongopai Rameka claims to be all about helping women get ahead and "fighting a patriarchal system" while simultaneously slutshaming Zoe Carlson.
  • Straw Misogynist: Ambulance driver Tim Myers who is about as subtle about his hatred of women as a bowling ball to the testicles. This is what led many people to believe he was the Ferndale Serial Rapist. After having his home searched, this was proven not to be the case, but all of Tim's dialogue was still about how much Tim hates women.
  • Street Performer: TK's nephew and cousin, Tane and Wiremu were pretty talented buskers.
  • Surprise Incest: Months after their tryst had ended, Rangi Heremaia and Donna Heka were most upset to find out in the last episode of 1997 that they shared the same father! A two year long Story Arc resulted, during which Rangi and Donna eventually established a friendship, then embarked on intentional Brother–Sister Incest before breaking up again. As 1999 drew to a close, Donna made the discovery that her mother had had an affair about nine months before she was born: a blood test finally confirmed that Rangi and Donna were Not Blood Siblings. Unfortunately, Rangi had just declared his love for Janet Maxwell. It took several more months before Rangi and Donna got back together.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Maia Jeffries, who shot Ethan Pierce in cold blood after he did everything in his power to make her life hell.
  • Tangled Family Tree: The Warners and the Samuels'. Chris and his father have slept around so often and fathered so many children it's hard to know where to begin. Still, they've got nothing on Huia and TK's families who have so many cousins, uncles, aunties, half-brothers, half-sisters, nieces and nephews you need a map to make sense of it all.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Ula Levi got knocked up at 16, gave birth to and then adopted out her baby. Sarah Potts and Meredith Fleming had kids as teenagers too, years before moving to Ferndale.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In a manner of speaking. Robyn Stokes was dumped by Andrew Solomon in favour of Sarah Potts, yet the two stayed friends. However after trying to manipulate her way back into Andrew's bed, Andrew told Robyn to no longer contact him, and Andrew's sister Claire would reject Robyn as well. Robyn would leave Ferndale in disgrace a third time having done so twice in 2001 and 2002. However, unbeknownst to Andrew, Claire and Sarah, Robyn took advantage of Andrew after he injured his head and had sex with him prior to leaving and made a reappearance at Sarah and Andrew's wedding, pregnant with twins. Andrew would leave Sarah for Robyn and the two would leave for England.
  • The Dog Bites Back:
    • And boy, did Carla Crozier bite back hard. Carla took it upon herself to get revenge on her abusive husband Bernie by bludgeoning him with a candlestick during the first big Ferndale Earthquake in 1996.
    • Heavily implied to be how Ian Reid met his end. A mystery assailant stabbed Ian to death while he was already in hospital recovering from being stabbed in prison. It was heavily implied to be nurse Claire, one of his rape victims.
  • The Sociopath:
    • Dr Ethan Pierce. So much so that he once threw a dinner party just to piss the guests off and cause in-fighting on purpose. And that was the tip of the iceberg.
    • Joey Henderson, to the point he had to actually train himself to fake emotions.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Caroline Buxton went from braindead receptionist who still slept with stuffed animals into a nurse who also managed to fill in Kirsty Knight's old role of amateur sleuth/bad guy stopper within the space of about 2 years.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass:
    • Before being revealed, Joey Henderson was a cold, efficient killing machine, bumping off every single target he lined up in his sights and leaving the police in the dark as to his true identity. Post-reveal, Joey botched every murder he attempted, became sloppy and eventually lead the police right to him.
    • Partially to push the show's new over-the-top feminist stance, Drew Mccaskill was turned from a suave ladies' man/highly qualified surgeon with a hidden heart of gold into a stupid manchild incapable of making smart life decisions if his life depended on it. He's even on home detention for accidental tax fraud, apparently too stupid to have kept his business receipts for the bar he and Harper own. He's become such an idiot he even tried committing Home D fraud!
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • TK Samuels went from being a chill, nice guy to being an overly-aggressive alpha male who would lose his temper and rage at people with only the slightest provocation. Thankfully, he's reverted back to being someone similar to his original personality in 2017.
    • In the 90's, Sam Aleni went through this but with a proper explanation. After his wife and best friend died in the same car crash, Sam took off to England and worked as a sex worker. Once he came back to Ferndale, he was a changed man, bitter and twisted rather than friendly and kind as he had been and gave up on religion. It wasn't until just before he left Ferndale in 1996 that he would re-embrace his faith.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Johnny Marinovich spent his early years on Shortland Street as an antagonistic jerk. While not an outright villain, he wasn't a particularly pleasant guy either, being quite arrogant and pompous. During his last year and a half on the show, due to cast turnover and the like, Johnny became essentially the main character of the show and thus he became a lot nicer and a lot less abrasive. His popularity increased because of it too.
  • Transgender: Blue Nathan, as played by transgender man Tash Keddy.
  • Trash the Set: The second big Ferndale Earthquake in 2000 was an excuse to ditch the small local clinic set that had been the main setting of the show and upgrade to the new hospital set which has been the setting of the show since.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Being a soap, most characters will go through this at some point, but the most egregious example in recent years would be nurse Alice Piper. In the space of a year, Alice was kidnapped and almost murdered by a serial killer, turned to drink as a result and then fell pregnant and didn't know whether the father was her partner or a drunken one-night-stand. Said partner was then murdered and her baby was born premature and died (with paternity left unresolved). In her grief, Alice then turned to Ethan Pierce for comfort but he ended up posting a sex tape of them online before promptly being murdered himself. Naturally, Alice was found near the scene of the crime and was a suspect but ended up helping the real culprit (Maia Jeffries) cover up her crime. When Alice went off to Rarotonga to rekindle her romance with Kip Denton, she'd definitely earned her happy ending.
  • Twisted Christmas: Enforced - the show goes off air for a month over the Christmas/New Year period, so the last episode before Christmas is a cliffhanger to lure viewers back in the new year.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: While not the classic definition of ugly, Lionel Skeggins getting married to the drop dead gorgeous Kirsty Knight definitely counts as this. Some might say the same about Gina Rossi and Leonard Dodds, depending on how attractive you found Gina.
  • We Have to Get the Bullet Out: Chris Warner tried to save Don Lennox in spite of Don being the murder of Chris' best friend. Don would die on the operating table in spite of Chris' best efforts.
  • White Sheep: Scotty's family consisted of a prostitute sister, jailbird brother, mother who abandoned the family and father with a gambling addiction. Scotty was a disciplined ex-army member who became a nurse dedicated to his craft.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: Deliberately enforced by Carrie Burton who originally didn't want to know the identity of her triplets' father. Played straight by Toni Thompson who didn't know who her son Harry was the son of out of three candidates (Adam Heywood, Matt Mcallister, Chris Warner). In both cases, Chris Warner, manslut extraordinaire was the father.
  • Younger Than They Look: Lucy Wigmore was only 6 years older than her on-screen son, Lee Donaghue. Ido Drent was only 24 when he left the show but looked early-30s. Laura Thompson was, surprisingly the same age as her on-screen stepson Curtis Hannah, who was supposed to be a teenager. Then there's the curious case of Li Ming Hu, supposedly only 16 when she was cast as Li Mei Chen. DR Li Mei Chen, that is.

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