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Series / Special Unit 2

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Special Unit 2 was a television series that aired on UPN and followed Nick O'Malley (Michael Landes) and Kate Benson (Alexondra Lee), two Chicago detectives who work for the titular agency, which is charged with dealing with supernatural monsters called "Links."

It lasted only 2 seasons (strictly speaking, two half-seasons) running from April 2001 to February 2002 for a total of 19 episodes.

This series contains examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Nick, after blowing up a building with one shot from his service-issue pistol: "Red ammo kicks ass!"
  • Agent Mulder:
    • Kate insisted she saw monsters as a kid; she kept this belief well into adulthood.
    • It's implied that everyone at SU2 was this in their respective lives/careers before joining up.
  • All Myths Are True: Except vampires. That's preposterous.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Page lost a hand in a war. His fake hand is sometimes used as a Running Gag.
  • Anti-Hero: Nick is a Type 4; he enjoys killing/tormenting Links and even likes intimidating humans on occasion, but still has some baseline heroism.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: All monster myths are real (genies, gargoyles, sphinx, etc.) except Vampires. Vampires are ridiculous. In-Universe, everyone who doesn't work at SU2 displays this.
  • Badass Normal: Nick and Kate have guns and guts, that's it, and they're responsible for protecting Chicago from supernatural creatures like gargoyles and werewolves.
  • Big Bad: The unnamed, former king of the Links was shaping up to be this before the series was cancelled because he escaped in the end of his introduction episode, was involved in the death of Nick's former partner, and, you know, "king of the Links".
  • Boxed Crook: Carl works for SU2 because he is a thief and a bad one.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Kate was this in muggle police and contrasts Nick, who has more experience in SU2. In a inversion of the usual, she's Ensign Newbie and gradually becomes more like him as time passes.
  • City of Adventure: Chicago is home to many Links, and thus, many adventures for SU2. In The Web, Page name drops an SU2 in New York, implying that there are SU2s in other cities.
  • Cool Old Guy: If "The Skin" is anything to go by, Kate's grandfather believed her stories about "seeing things no else sees" and encouraged her to not listen to those that tried to dissuade her.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Carl killed a dragon once. It was more by accident than on purpose, but still considered an impressive feat. note  He later manages to kill another dragon by accidentally kicking a shovel into its mouth.
  • Cowboy Cop: Nick has little regard for rules. Not that there are that many regarding Links, but still he doesn't care about them.
  • Da Chief: Captain Page is the head of SU2, which is a sub-division of the Chicago Police Department.
  • Darkest Hour: The emergence of a new Chameleon is such a severe situation that Page orders every available officer to take part in finding it, while Carl and other local Links want to get out of the city ASAP. Even the unnamed king of Links showing up didn't cause such a panic.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Nick was able to capture the Chameleon the first time around because an early snowstorm threw off its hibernation cycle.
  • The Face: Carl is the SU2 liason to the Link underworld. He's not personable or friendly to say the least, but he has useful connections and considering other Links want nothing to do with SU2, he's a step-up.
  • Fake Guest Star: Sean appeared in every episode of Season 1 and was usually rather relevant, but he never made it into the opening credits. By contrast, his replacement did.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Lots of stuff from fantasy is here: Gnomes, sphinxes, werewolves, dragons, ogres, genies, gargoyles, mermen, spider people, gorgons, mummies, shape-shifting lizard people, the Bogeyman, the Sandman, the undead, everything except vampires.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The reason Nick spared the original Chameleon after finally catching him the first time around. Life imprisonment is a far greater punishment for a creature that so enjoys killing.
  • From Bad to Worse: In "The Skin," the new Chameleon successfully frees the original, meaning two vicious killers are out there. Worse, the new one is female and intends to breed.
  • Halloween Episode: "The Eve." SU2 faces off against the unnamed, former king Link, who raises the dead as part of a plan to reclaim a powerful artifact.
  • Hero of Another Story: "The Skin" and "The Eve" hint that Nick's former partner was on to something big and putting pieces together in regards to the unnamed Link.
  • I Know Your True Name: According to Jonathan's research, knowing the name of the former king of the Links will give one power over him. Needless to say, the unnamed Link kept it under wraps.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: "The ________"
  • Immune to Bullets:
    • Gargoyles are immune to anything that will not blow them up entirely.
    • There's a creature with tentacles that lives under the SU2 headquarters that eats garbage. The only reason it's there is because they still haven't found a way to kill it.
    • Carl is immune to regular bullets, which Da Chief uses as a live demonstration to rookies. Carl likes to show off but hates to buy new shirts.
  • It's Fake Fur, It's Fine: Carl steals a fur coat for Kate, but since it's fake fur, it wouldn't count as much of a crime.
  • Jack the Ripper: He shows up in "The Beast."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Nick is a bad cop because he thinks all Links are dangerous to humans or otherwise a nuisance to them.
    • Carl has friendship-of-sorts with SU2, but he veers into Jerkass fairly often.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Like revive (and kill) an ancient Japanese mummy.
  • Literal Genie: One of the Links exploited this for her Evil Plan. It involved manipulating people into talking figuratively which she could then interpret literally. Unlike a typical genie, this one only had one power: To turn into a puff of smoke and hide in a container. All wishes have to be done the old-fashioned way (e.g. someone asks for a model, she has to go and kidnap one).
  • Love God: Cupid is a human-looking Link who, when frightened, emits pheromones that make someone inexplicably attracted to someone near them. He also has a very big heart (literally), causing issues when he has to be taken somewhere on a helicopter.
  • Master of Illusion: One featured Link, the Chameleon, has the ability to read a person's mind and disguise itself as a familiar face. This allows it to kill its prey and elude capture with far more ease than others.
  • Mister Exposition: Captain Page, Sean, and later Jonathan play this role by providing information and background on various Links and missions.
  • Mummy: A Japanese mummy is revived by a lightning strike. Bonus points for mentioning that it's very rare for the Japanese to mummify someone due to space being a premium in Japan, meaning that the mummy is someone who was a great samurai when he was alive. As such, you don't wanna mess with it, especially since this one can appear as a normal man and can kick anyone else's ass. The mummy's goal is to kidnap three women "from different corners of the world" (i.e. 1 white, 1 black, 1 Asian) and sacrifice them in a ritual to boost his power up to eleven.
  • Monster of the Week: Each week has a new Link causing trouble in Chicago. The responses range from killing to imprisonment, but usually killing.
  • Network Sideswipe: Da Chief briefs the Na´ve Newcomer on reality.
    "The monsters of every child's nightmare, they're all real. Except Vampires. Complete and total fiction."
  • No One Could Survive That!: At the end of "The Eve," Nick and Kate fire on the unnamed Link, seemingly vaporizing him. However, since no one knows his biology, they have no idea what his remains would be, assuming he left any. After Kate suggests it would be impossible for this Link to have survived, Captain Page points out the grim reality of SU2 that anything is possible.
  • No Such Agency: Special Unit 2 does not officially exist, which earned Kate some flak when she talked about them with the rest of the police.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The standard Eastern and Western dragons are brought up, but the dragon we actually seen is described as a special Native American dragon...which behaves like a regular Western dragon anyway.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: Most of them are offshoots of humanity that evolved differently. Others are your average cryptids.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: The only gnome we see is Carl, who looks like a normal short human expect for having Pointy Ears and a slightly weird-looking face. Gnomes are apparently invulnerable to everything except dragon fire and a diamond-encrusted blade.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Apparently, being a beast inside makes for one hell of a power-broker. Otherwise, pretty standard, except there's a short amount of time where werewolves can be cured.
  • Pheromones: One episode features a Link that emits these when scared (it's stated that Links like that are the inspiration for the Cupid myth). He ends up doing it outside a courthouse, and the pheromones (besides causing everyone around him to start making out with strangers) cause a Hanging Judge to suddenly start letting hardened criminals go free. The team has to find the Link and get him to undo the effect on the judge before a high-profile criminal is set free.
  • Precision F-Strike: In "The Eve," Carl sarcastically tells the officers "Maybe you should re-named yourselves FU2."
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Caused by the titular Link in The Sandman.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Captain Page is not on a self-righteous crusade against Links; if they leave humans alone, he'll leave them alone. The others are wasted.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The Chameleons are assholes. One of them shifted into Kate's (dead) grandfather and re-enacted a cherished memory For the Evulz.
  • Sex Signals Death: Lampshaded in the start of "The Depths" by a couple on the beach discussing the sexism of this trope, naturally they get attacked by the Link of the week.
  • Shrouded in Myth: The nameless Link. Carl recalls being told stories about him from an extremely elderly relative.
  • Take That!: The claim that vampires don't exist (which came back to bite them in the behind when Miss Summers saw them both come and go).
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: "Red Ammo", which is not an explosive bullet, but instead a mini-grenade capable of blowing up a whole building to kingdom come.
  • They Walk Among Us: Links are everywhere; a sphinx sat in front of a college because others thought it was a statue.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: According to Page, Nick is the way he is on the show because the Chameleon murdered Julie. Nick became hardened and obsessive in bringing the creature in, but he never let go of his anger.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Nick and Carl are often arguing with each other, insulting each other, and even come to blows (Carl is Nigh-Invulnerable after all) but they are friends underneath it, such as when Nick helped plan Carl's surprise birthday party. Carl was also sympathetic towards Nick when the latter's mother was about to die.
  • Weirdness Censor: Kate was recruited because she didn't have one. Everyone else either doesn't see the Links or convinces themselves they didn't. One guy was abducted by a mummy and told everyone it was some weirdo in bandages.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Kate is shown or stated to have had encounters with monsters since childhood. It is implied that all members of SU2 have had similar experiences.
  • Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: Sean's replacement by Jonathan is completely unexplained and Sean himself is never mentioned again after the first season.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Zero, you're welcome.
  • Who You Gonna Call?: SU2 is a government agency that busts links.
  • The World Is Not Ready: While people tend to have a Weirdness Censor, SU2 makes sure to keep the Links situation under wraps. Nick mentions how he once destroyed Kate's photographic proof months before she joined the department.
  • Your Vampires Suck: Captain Page dismisses their existence entirely as "the silliest thing I ever heard."