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Series / Street Justice

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Adam and Grady. One's a straight-laced cop, the other's a street-smart martial artist. Together, they fight crime.
Street Justice was a crime drama TV series created by Stephen J. Cannell and starring Carl Weathers (of Rocky and Predator fame) and Bryan Genesse, which ran for two seasons from 1991 to 1993.

Police detective Adam Beaudreaux (Weathers), a former US Marine, reunites with Grady Jameson (Genesse), who Adam had befriended during his tour of duty in Vietnam, after 20 years of having searched for the then-preteen Grady. However, Adam is quick to learn that Grady, now a seasoned martial arts expert with street smarts picked up during those 20 years, isn't quite as respectful of law and order as Adam is, an issue which oftentimes causes friction between the two old friends.

In an effort to give Grady a sense of discipline and help him get back on his feet, Adam puts the younger man to work at a bar he co-owns with Malloy (Charlene Fernetz), the daughter of Adam's deceased police partner. Yet despite their clashing views on the law, Adam and Grady fight crime together, with Grady's street-savvy working in places where Adam's badge can't successfully go. They're later joined in their efforts by Miguel Mendez (Marcus Chong), a former gang leader who initially appears as an adversary, but who eventually starts to turn his life around due to Adam's influence.

The series is currently available on DVD.

Tropes present in Street Justice:

  • Abusive Parents: The episode "Kid Stuff" has a woman fearing that her child, who she'd given up for adoption, is being abused by his adopted parents, a feeling strengthened by the fact that they've recently stopped her visitation rights and the observation by one of the child's teachers that the father inspires fear in all the kids. In the same episode, Adam recalls that he once had a case where he confronted and beat an abusive dad for hitting his son; unfortunately, while Adam was being arraigned in court on assault charges from that incident, the father killed the boy.
  • Action Girl: Lisa, Grady's ex-girlfriend in "Desperate," can kick as much tail as Grady himself.
  • Action Series: The episodes where punches and kicks aren't thrown are very few and far between.
  • Aggressive Categorism: The race-prejudice variant forms part of the plot of "Black or Blue," where Willis is suspected of shooting a white pizzeria-owner simply because he's a black man who happened to be in a predominantly white part of town at the absolute wrong time.
  • All Abusers Are Male: The husband of Malloy's friend Lisa in "Self Defense" is a particularly manipulative example, controlling where his wife can go and when, blaming her for making him angry enough to hit her, and generally isolating her to the point that she's a Shrinking Violet who flinches at the slightest hint of physical contact. Then there's the father in "Kid Stuff" who, as his adopted son's teacher points out, has a mannerism that frightens the kids in the class, coupled with the fact that the adopted son in question has had bruises corresponding to physical abuse, and also the fact that the dad pushes both his son and the other kids hard when coaching them in basketball and isn't accepting of anything less than perfection. The latter case is revealed to be a subversion, as while the dad's initially suspected of abusing the boy, he's in fact innocent—it's his wife who's hurting the kid.
  • Amoral Attorney: ADA Specter has shades of this; in the pilot episode, Adam reveals she had once tried to persuade him to perjure himself in court in an effort to convict a defendant. Then there's DA Sperling in "A Sense of Duty," who threatens to sabotage a single mother's chances of gaining full custody of her son if she doesn't consent to the boy (who, for the record, is eight years old) participating in an identification parade to pick out the guy he saw shoot a drug dealer, despite the child being clearly scared of what's happening.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: S01E05, "Tables Turned," has the good guys protect a female lawyer, Victoria Langford, from her Stalker with a Crush, a rapist she'd previously gotten acquitted. At the end of the episode, the lawyer lets them know she's still going to continue representing clients like him, since they're considered innocent till proven guilty. Prompting Adam to ask: "If you had a daughter in your position, what would you tell her to do?"
    Victoria: ...I don't know.
  • Bad Guys Play Pool: The Shadow Dragons play pool in their down-time.
  • Badass Longcoat: Adam wears a dark brown duster on occasion.
  • Berserk Button: If Grady finds out that you had anything to do with his parents' deaths, specifically any form of collaboration with the Viet Cong at the time of the attack on the village where they were staying, he will come after you with a vengeance, the law be damned.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Often.
  • Bittersweet Ending: A few episodes end on this note.
    • "Missing": Adam and Grady help a Vietnam veteran's wife, who believes her husband is still alive and not dead as has been told to her previously, to escape the Feds, who are seeking her for questioning...but it turns out her husband is truly dead metaphorically, as his years of torture in a POW camp led to him abandoning his former identity and becoming a drug smuggler, and Adam has to tell the wife that her husband is dead to convince her to stop her search and escape to safety.
    • "Remember Me": Adam and Grady stop the plot of the episode's villain, who's seeking to kill Adam's foster-father...but said foster-father is suffering Alzheimer's and doesn't recognize Adam, even as he begs Adam to help him find the son that the system took from him.
  • Blackmail: Part of the plot of "Bad Choices." Little Saigon crime boss Old Kim warns Willis to make Adam stop his search for a certain refugee who recently arrived in town, or else Kim will make the revelation that Willis signed documentation to give a lot of Kim's refugees illegal passports and landing papers and made it possible for many, including the missing refugee, to transport heroin into the country, something Willis was never aware of.
  • Buddy Cop Show: A variation, in that while Adam is a (mostly) straight-laced detective-sergeant, Grady isn't a cop at all, but a streetwise martial arts expert with disdain for the rules and red tape that come with police procedure. Nonetheless, they fight crime.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Adam is shot in the chest at fairly close range at the start of "Countdown." Predictably, it turns out he's wearing one of these under his shirt, though he has to play dead long enough for the villains of the episode to drag him away from the scene before he can move, and even while removing the vest he's still shown to be in pain from the force of the gunshot.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Happens to Grady pretty often. In the pilot alone, a gang of toughs try to mug him for his jacket...a Curb-Stomp Battle is what they get.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Adam believes in following regulations and police procedure. Unfortunately, this tends to get him stonewalled when certain aspects of his investigations prove to be not nearly as black-and-white as he'd like, or when his own desired outcome is hampered by the very procedure he upholds.
  • Children Raise You: In "Parenthood," it's revealed that when he was a child, Miguel had to care for his drug-addicted mother more than she was caring for him, up to and including getting her to the hospital whenever she was high. In the present day, it's a big part of why he wants nothing to do with her.
    Miguel: She's supposed to be the mother, not the other way around!
  • City with No Name: The city where the series takes place is never identified.
  • Clear My Name: "Friendly Fire" has Adam trying to clear himself of an unlawful shooting charge before a disciplinary board, where he's pinned with the blame of killing an unarmed suspect after he refused to follow the actual guilty party's recommendation that they both report the perp was armed. "Honor and Trust" has Grady being accused of the murder of a smuggler from 10 years earlier, and Adam working to clear him of that charge.
  • Cold Sniper: Thomas Hardin, the villain of the pilot two-parter, is skilled with a sniper-rifle.
  • Cool Bike: Grady owns one.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: These show up from time to time, sometimes as the villain of any given episode. Eric Rothman's father is revealed to be one, which is a source of significant anger for Eric himself and leads him to distance himself from his father.
  • Cowboy Cop: Newly-assigned detective Eric Rothman comes across this way in "Each One, Teach One," and Adam makes it clear that it's this type of cop he especially despises.
    Adam: Guys like Rothman, they join for the excitement; like to be cowboys, break down doors, shoot bad guys.
    Grady: Well, that doesn't make him a bad cop.
    Adam: No, but it makes him a dangerous cop.
  • Daddy's Girl: Malloy. By her recollection, her father spoiled her a lot, and she in turn continues to remember him fondly, to the point that any suspicion of his integrity will not sit well with her.
  • Damsel in Distress: Several episodes have one of these, usually with the girl in question having a connection to one of the main characters. Malloy herself has been subjected to this a few times.
  • The Dandy: Eric Rothman tends to be pretty sharply-dressed for a detective.
  • Day in the Limelight:
    • "The Long Road Home" focuses mainly on Lt. Charlie Pine, examining the lengths he'll go to in order to solve a case, and the effects said lengths are having on his personal health, personal relationships and professionalism. By contrast, Adam's there mainly as a supporting character, and Grady gets only three scenes at most.
    • "Each One, Teach One," Rothman's debut episode, shows us his reasons for becoming a cop, his (poor) relationship with his father, and how said relationship affects his viewpoint of the episode's case.
    • "Cross Fire" focuses on Kelsey and her reactions to the outcome of a shoot-out where she inadvertently got held hostage by the criminal and got her partner killed as a result.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both Adam and Grady. This inevitably leads to the occasional Snark-to-Snark Combat.
  • Debating Names: Malloy's parents being unable to agree on a name for her during her first twelve years of life is why she just goes by her surname only.
  • The Determinator: Adam kept up his search for Grady for 20 years, even putting a good portion of his police-detective salary toward hiring private detectives to find any trace of his former friend.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: One Villain of the Week is a foreign diplomat who has been holding a woman from his native country as a slave in his employ, and he and his agents make full use of the immunity to prosecution their positions grant them. When Grady hypothetically asks attorney Victoria Langford what to do if diplomats commit crimes such as murder or rape, she admits that even in such cases, their immunity means they could just get away with it scot-free.
  • Diving Save: Grady pulls this in an effort to protect Malloy when the Villain of the Week comes into the bar and shoots it up in "Innocent Blood." Grady fails and Malloy gets shot, but fortunately she lives.
  • Domestic Abuse: Malloy's friend Lisa, in "Self Defense," is made subject to physical and psychological abuse at her husband's hands, as the episode's Cold Open reveals.
  • Dynamic Entry: How Grady pulls off his Big Damn Heroes moments in some episodes. On one occasion he pulls this by jump-kicking a gunman from off-screen right when the guy is about to shoot Pine; on another occasion he pulls this by crashing through a window and smacking into the episode's villain.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: One episode has Grady intimidate the Villain of the Week, a rapist who commits his crimes to assert his dominance, by sitting next to the guy in a crowded movie theater and snagging his popcorn right out of his bag while smirking. It works because Grady easily kicked the guy's ass earlier in the episode.
  • Enemy Mine: In "Missing," Grady and Willis enlist Old Kim's help to find a P.O.W. who may still be alive in Vietnam; Adam goes along with it, though he clearly isn't happy about doing so, given their history with Kim.
  • Evil Old Folks: Old Kim.
  • Exact Words: In "Homecoming," while driving newly-released former gang-banger Miguel around, Adam responds to a dispatch-call about two armed felons in the area, and prior to giving chase he warns Miguel to stay in the car. Miguel does just that...while driving the car around the block to cut off the crooks' escape for Adam to catch them.
    Miguel: You said stay in the car. I stayed in the car.
  • External Combustion: The opening scene for "Shadows" has one of Adam's police friends get killed by one of these.
  • Fair Cop: Kelsey.
  • Faking the Dead: Malloy gets this treatment in "Innocent Blood," complete with a newscast announcing said death, in an effort to throw off the Villain of the Week—bonus points for actually having been shot and hospitalized by said antagonist earlier in the episode.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Old Kim, the man behind the Shadow Dragons gang in the city's Little Saigon district, will share pleasant talk and even politely offer food to Adam, and has a cordial working relationship with Willis...this while still being a human trafficker and heroin smuggler who insists that Little Saigon should "police itself" and will use the Shadow Dragons to extort the locals into paying dues to him, plus he's not afraid to throw others, including his own underlings, under the bus if it'll give him an advantage.
  • Fight Clubbing: S02E02, "Circle of Death," has this as the plot, where martial artists are drawn in and made to fight in an underground Deadly Game hosted by the Villain of the Week and bet upon by rich gamblers. The participants have a circle branded on the bottom of their left feet, to signify their participation in "the game," and the loser of each fight gets his neck broken by the victor.
  • Foster Kid: Adam was one, as revealed in "Remember Me."
  • Glory Hound: The leader of the specially-appointed task force in "Eye Witness," who's out to nail a major crime family run by the Villain of the Week, is willing to grant interviews with news-crews at any opportunity and gets jealous that the local cops might find potential witnesses before he does. Also the lead detective in "Honor and Trust," who has it out for Adam because he wanted the glory of busting a criminal from several years before the start of the series, only losing out because he never told Adam's team of the military connections to the crook's crimes in question (something he conveniently refuses to cop to)
  • Heel–Face Turn: Miguel Mendez initially appeared as an antagonistic gang leader in "Loyalties." After serving time at a youth camp following the events of that episode, he would later return to assist the heroes from time to time, eventually becoming a main character in Season 2.
  • Hero of Another Story: Lisa, Grady's ex in "Desperate," is a bounty hunter who's been at her craft for some time since they last saw each other.
  • Heroic BSoD: Malloy goes through one in "Bashing," after her younger brother is beaten up by thugs for being gay and subsequently dies from internal bleeding because he wouldn't go to the hospital. Grady finds her throwing glasses from the bar at the wall, while trying (and failing miserably) to hold back her crying.
  • I Am Not My Father: Det. Rothman joined the force to get out from under his millionaire father's thumb, as he strongly opposed the elder Rothman's business practices that tended to hurt people, such as shutting down a plant so as to avoid paying pension benefits to the workers. Rothman's sister pulled a similar stunt for similar reasons, only in her case she became a call-girl.
  • I Am the Noun: In "Self Defense," Adam goes to confront a wife-beater at his usual watering-hole, and starts laying some threats on the man. One of the guy's buddies says he's going to call the cops, only for Adam to frostily inform him, "I am the cops, on unofficial business, of course."
  • I Have No Son!: Malloy's father completely cut off her younger brother after the latter came out of the closet.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Threatened in "On My Honor," when one of two criminal brothers kidnaps Malloy in a bid to threaten Adam against testifying against the other brother, who's in jail for killing a cop. The imprisoned brother, refusing to tell Adam where his brother might have taken Malloy, says he hopes Malloy "likes her sex real rough," complete with thrusting his pelvis to emphasize the last two words. Adam goes ballistic on him in response.
  • I Will Find You: The pilot two-parter reveals that, when Adam was forced to leave Vietnam, he promised Grady he would return and find him one day, no matter what. That promise was the driving force behind Adam's 20-year search for Grady.
  • Identification by Dental Records: "Obsession" reveals that, in his back-story, the Villain of the Week mutilated a victim so grotesquely that this was the only way the police could identify her when her remains were found.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: How Adam persuades Grady not to kill the Villain of the Week in "Circle of Death."
  • In-Series Nickname: Grady frequently calls Adam "B," i.e. the initial for his surname Beaudreaux, a hold-over from their early associations when Grady was a child in Vietnam and Adam was a Special Forces Marine.
  • Informed Judaism: In "Black or Blue," Det. Rothman indicates to Adam that he knows very well what racial prejudice is like despite being a white man—because when he was younger, he got hassled often for being Jewish. Nowhere else in the series do we get any hint that Rothman is a Jew.
  • Internal Affairs: They get mentioned frequently and even show up on occasion, most prominently in "Feet of Clay," where an agent comes to investigate Adam on charges that he or his former partner Dennis Malloy might have been crooked cops. The agent turns out to be the Villain of the Week.
  • Jury and Witness Tampering: In one episode where Adam is before a disciplinary board concerning a shooting for which he's been implicated, Grady visits a potential witness for Adam's defense—the partner-in-crime of the slain crook in question—and urges him to tell the truth when it's his turn to testify, along with a rather subtle threat if the man doesn't comply, since Grady knows where he lives. Unfortunately, this results in the witness being barred from giving evidence for the defense, since legally speaking he's been coerced. Then it goes the other way when the lawyers for another cop who was at the scene—and who actually shot the crook and pinned the whole thing on Adam—get the very same witness to testify on their behalf, and he promptly fingers Adam as the culprit, with the implication being that the other cop bribed him to do so.
  • Kubrick Stare: Grady tends to pull this during some particularly intense scenes.
  • Last-Name Basis / Only One Name: Pretty much everyone—Adam, Grady, recurring characters, guest characters—has this dynamic with Malloy, since she never goes by a first name. According to her, this was because her parents could never agree on a name for her during her first 12 years, so she just stuck with using her surname. This goes up to eleven when one episode reveals that not even her entry on the DMV's local online registry has a first name for her.
  • Local Hangout: Malloy's, co-owned by the titular character and Adam, and it's where Grady works as a bartender.
  • The Lost Lenore: "Missing" reveals that Adam was preparing to help a Vietnamese woman escape to the United States, and that they had been making arrangements to get married. Unfortunately, the woman ran back into her village, which was being besieged by the Viet Cong, because her sick mother was still trapped there; sadly, she never came back out. Adam has more than one Catapult Nightmare about that day during the episode.
  • Made a Slave: The Damsel in Distress in "Sanctuary." She was suckered in by the Villain of the Week with the promise of a better life if she came to the United States, but once she arrived, he took her pertinent documentation from her and forced her to work at his more than one capacity, too.
  • Mama Bear: In one episode, a mother who's in danger of losing custody of her infant son to his crime-boss father is quite ready and willing to shoot the man just to keep him from gaining custody, not caring if she herself goes to jail for it and even being willing that the baby should go to an adopted family that will take care of him. In another episode, the mother of a slain crook comes this close to shooting Adam and another cop, who were both at the scene of the guy's death, because she feels her son's death was unjustified and the police aren't doing enough to punish them.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Old Kim will use any tactic he can to twist situations to his advantage, up to and including misleading nominal allies. More than one Villain of the Week has likewise been shown to be this, including one gang-banger who was able to trick a patsy into trying to flee town for fear of his life, then set up two cops who he knew held a grudge against the patsy to arrest the other man, all to direct suspicion for the crime of the week away from himself.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Grady gets a few shirtless scenes throughout the series, usually during his training montages. Adam, in turn, has a few scenes where he's shown exercising in all his muscular glory.
  • My Greatest Failure: Kelsey blames herself for the events of the Cold Open for "Cross Fire," where she let down her guard while she and Schuham were chasing a suspect and she got nabbed from behind by the perp and briefly held hostage as a result. Specifically because it resulted in Schuham getting killed while trying to save her.
  • New Old Flame: Lisa for Grady in "Desperate."
  • Obviously Evil: Most episodes' villains are shown to be obvious scum-bags, especially if they're shown doing (or about to do) something clearly evil during the Cold Open.
  • Orphanage of Fear: During the 20-year separation in the back-story, child!Grady grew up in one of these, whose caretaker frequently beat on him. Grady ran away from there eventually...but unfortunately he wound up in prison, where he would spend a significant portion of time before eventually making his way to the United States.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: In "Cross Fire," Kelsey's on the phone with Grady when the Villain of the Week, a Cop Killer, sneaks into her apartment and holds her at gunpoint, warning her to end the call. Kelsey proceeds to tell "Denny" to "give (her) love to Charlie" before hanging up.
    Malloy: (as Grady hangs up) What's up?
    Grady: I was talking to Kelsey about the case, right? And she calls me "Denny," tells me to give her love to Charlie.
    Malloy: Well, "Charlie" is Lt. Pine.
    Grady: Well, yeah, but...
    Malloy: Denny's my dad.
    Grady: And your dad was killed in the (suddenly realizes) ...line of duty.
    Malloy: ...let's call the precinct.
  • Papa Wolf: The villain of "Innocent Blood," an international terrorist, declares war on the city after a black-ops team inadvertently kills his son during a raid on the apartment where they were staying.
    Father: My loss will be your loss tenfold. You have only yourselves to blame.
  • Parental Abandonment: All the main characters have experienced this in one form or another. Grady's parents were Canadian missionaries who were killed during a raid on their village by Viet Cong soldiers. Malloy's father was shot dead by other cops who mistook him for a robber (he'd arrived on the scene while on his way home and had fended off the real crooks just moments before) and her mother's whereabouts aren't mentioned beyond the fact that her parents got divorced. Adam was a Foster Kid who got shuffled from one home to another, and his biological parents aren't mentioned. Miguel's mother was a crack addict who gave him up, and his father's not in the picture.
  • Parental Substitute: Adam serves as this for both Grady and Malloy. By Grady's own admission, during his years as a child trapped in Vietnam following his parents' deaths, at one time he used to go around showing off Adam's photo and telling people that Adam was his father (not that anyone ever bought it). In Malloy's case, Adam had previously promised her father that he would take care of her, prior to the elder Malloy's death.
  • Playing Both Sides: Part of why Grady is gunning for Hardin in the pilot episode is that, while he was ostensibly fighting on the American side in Vietnam, Hardin was also acting as an informant to the Viet Cong—and in doing so, told the Cong that Grady's parents were actually CIA agents, a lie that led to the Jamesons' deaths when their village was torched.
  • Police Are Useless: This is the feeling of local merchants in "Protectors," when they think the police aren't doing enough to catch a group of robbers who've been targeting their business-places. This sentiment leads to a vigilante-patrol group getting much support, to Adam's frustration.
  • Police Brutality: The villain of "Hello...Again" is an ex-cop who had a reputation for roughing up perps he collared, including breaking their arms.
  • Prison Rape:
    • In the pilot two-parter "Legends," Grady hints that part of his learning how to fight came from fighting off attacks from other prisoners while he was incarcerated during the 20 years he and Adam were separated.
    Adam: That prison must've had some martial arts program.
    Grady: Actually, the instructors weren't so hot, but they did know how to motivate a guy.
    Adam: Yeah, like how?
    Grady: Nightly showers.
    • Det. Rothman threatens a perp with this in "Country Justice."
    Rothman: You ever been to prison, Arnold? They just love pretty boys like you.
  • Professional Killer: Hardin was a Vietnam War veteran, and at the time of the pilot two-parter he was a hitman for the mob.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Marcus Chong, Miguel's actor, gets this treatment with Season 2's premier episode, "Death Warmed Over."
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: Averted, subverted and invoked.
    • Averted in the Season 2 premiere "Death Warmed Over." The Villain of the Week has a woman at gunpoint and demands for Adam to put down his gun or else the girl will die. Adam doesn't bite, coolly replying that if the girl dies, the bad guy will die.
    • Subverted in "Back from the Dead...Again." Hardin has Grady at gunpoint and demands for Adam to lower his weapon. Adam appears to do so...only to bring the gun right back up and shoot Hardin dead when the villain drops his guard.
    • Invoked in "A Sense of Duty." Adam and the episode's villain are pointing guns at each other, but the villain is also holding a child as a hostage. Adam, without any prompting, lowers his gun and asks the villain to take him as the hostage instead of the child. It doesn't work, as the villain points out that Adam is of no value to him.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: In "Tables Turned," this trope is the reason Malloy has no sympathy for a female lawyer, Victoria Langford, who's being stalked by a man she had gotten cleared of a rape charge. Victoria accuses Malloy of believing that she, Victoria, deserves to be attacked because she defended the rapist in court, and for her part Malloy doesn't try to deny it.
    Victoria Langford: If I were a man, it would be different, right?
    Malloy: Yes, it would.
    Victoria: That's crap. I'm entitled to make a living just the same as any man.
    Malloy: That's not what I'm saying.
    Victoria: Oh, the hell it isn't.
    Malloy: Look, I sell drinks. But if I see someone's had too many, I won't sell them any more, even if it's bad for business.
    Victoria: Not the same thing.
    Malloy: Oh, yes it is. It's called being responsible.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Lt. Charlie Pine, Adam's chief. He cuts Adam quite a lot of slack, particularly as it relates to working with a loose cannon like Grady.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Grady's the red, Adam's the blue.
  • Room Disservice: In "Hello...Again," the villain gains entrance to Adam's apartment by dressing up as a beat-cop and carrying two boxes of pizza...conveniently enough, Rothman (who's guarding the episode's Damsel in Distress along with Kelsey) had ordered pizza and was just starting to get impatient.
  • Sadistic Choice: In one episode, Old Kim presents Adam with one of these when the latter suspects him of masterminding a heroin-smuggling operation. Either Adam can call the cops off Kim's back and in the process lose a golden opportunity to bust the crime boss, or Adam can go ahead and arrest Kim but risk his friend Willis being sent to prison since Kim took great care not to sign his name on any documents that got the heroin smugglers into the country as refugees, while Willis' name is all over said documentation, which means Kim would let Willis take the fall and get himself off the charges. Chagrined, Adam is forced to cancel his intended arrest of Kim, citing lack of a warrant, and Kim lets out an Evil Laugh in triumph as the cops leave.
  • Scary Black Man:
    • Daggett, an inmate who masterminds a shanking attempt on Grady's old con-artist friend Gary in "Debt of Honor."
    Gary: You remember Mr. T?
    Grady: Yeah.
    Gary: Well, Daggett makes him look like a sissy.
    • Greg Tyson, the Villain of the Week and leader of the antagonist gang in "Countdown," who is heartless enough to shoot a cop-hostage dead to emphasize that he's going to get what he wants when he wants it, no exceptions.
  • Searching the Stalls: In "Countdown," one of the mooks of a gang that's taken the entire precinct hostage goes to check if anyone's in the bathroom, and he kicks each door open one by one to check. Fortunately, another mook calls to him to let him know the gang's leader wants him, stopping him just in time from kicking down the one door to the stall where Adam and a prostitute he'd busted earlier are currently hiding.
  • Serial Killer: The titular villain in "Angel of Death," who specializes in trauma-nurses and kills five during the course of the episode, always near dawn, and always leaving an "Angel of Mercy" card in the victims' hands. "The Group" has a killer who's slain three Vietnamese women over a two-week period, though Adam is initially hesitant to refer to the perpetrator as a serial killer.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Adam's friend Willis runs a support-group for men who served in Vietnam and are still suffering the psychological trauma of the things they experienced while there; Adam himself is a regular member. S01E08, "The Group," also focuses on one of these men, a newcomer to the support group who also happens to be an assistant instructor at the dojo where Grady teaches; the man in question still wears his dog-tags, and when first seen he's having a mental flashback where a woman screams "I'm on your side!" followed by an explosion, all while he's in the midst of a crowd witnessing a Vietnamese woman's lifeless body at a crime scene.
  • Shoot Him, He Has a Wallet!: What kicks off the plot of "Friendly Fire." Adam and an older detective head to the scene of a burglary and get shot at by the crook, who escapes shortly after. Moments later, the burglar's partner-in-crime comes out of the building and attempts to flee, but stops when the cops order him to; from the way he is positioned, the other detective thinks he's going for a gun, and when the guy turns around to face them, the detective shoots him. As it turns out, the guy wasn't armed at all, but the cop refuses to accept responsibility (as doing so would potentially cost him his pension) and he pins the blame on Adam instead, which Adam has to spend the rest of the episode clearing up.
  • Shoot the Television: In "The Long Way Home," Lt. Pine does this to Adam's TV (he's at Adam's house trying to unwind from the stressful case of the week), after seeing the newscasts on the only two stations available, where both news anchors are raking Pine over the coals over his slow pace at solving the rash of burglaries that have been occurring, as well as Pine's manhandling of a civilian in a moment of frustration earlier that day. That act of shooting the TV is only the latest act in Pine's gradually-deteriorating level of patience, since he's been pushing himself so hard to solve the case that he's not resting properly or making time for anything else.
    Pine: Don't worry...I'll buy you another one. (leaves the dumbfounded Adam behind)
  • Spectacular Spinning: Grady employs quite a lot of spinning jump-kicks in his fighting style. The opening credits even shows a brief clip of a fight scene from the pilot two-parter where he performs a double spinning jump-kick.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Two villains-of-the-week show up as this. The first one appears in "Tables Turned," stalking a female lawyer who had recently gotten him acquitted on a rape charge, and the second one appears in "Obsession," stalking Malloy after having deluded himself that she's into him and despite both her and Adam telling him quite clearly that she's not interested in him.
  • Strapped to a Bomb: Malloy gets subjected to this by the episode's villain in "On My Honor." The bomb has a timer that's set to trigger if anyone opens the door to the room where Malloy's being held.
  • Those Two Guys: Detectives Tricia Kelsey and Paul Schuham (played by Janne Mortil and Ken Tremblett, respectively), two of Adam's co-workers who often give assistance to him and Grady in handling the case of the week.
  • Tragic Keepsake: "Circle of Death" reveals that Grady has a bandanna which used to belong to a Vietnamese boy who helped him escape that country; the both of them wound up in Hong Kong where the other boy died at Grady's hand, after the two were forced by the Villain of the Week to fight to the death in the titular game.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: The main source of conflict between Adam and Grady. Putting it in simple terms, Adam believes in procedure, while Grady would rather take care of problems his way.
    Adam: If you're gonna do the crime, you have to pay the fine. It's the law.
    Grady: It's your law. Not mine.
  • True Companions:
    Grady: Do you trust Malloy?
    Adam: With my life.
    Grady: Do you trust me?
    Adam: You saved my life.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Adam has had to do this at least thrice. The first time, he was under investigation for a shooting in which he'd been blamed for misconduct; the second time, it was either this trope or to have Grady cooperate with the Feds in an undercover investigation against Grady's love interest of the episode; and the third time, it was at the insistence of an Internal Affairs agent who claimed Adam had sicced Grady on a witness (when in fact Grady had gone to the witness of his own volition).
  • Undercover as Lovers: "Partner in Crime" has Adam paired up with a female cop as they go undercover posing as an arms-dealing married couple to bust a gun-running operation. The female cop is even more undercover than that—she's an Internal Affairs agent seeking to gauge whether Adam's a Dirty Cop or not.
  • Underside Ride: "Back from the Dead...Again" has Grady infiltrate a compound by hitching a ride on the underside of a moving truck.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Grady has this relationship with Miguel, not least because, in his first appearance, Miguel was a gang-banger who pulled a gun on Grady while the latter was helping the episode's Damsel in Distress. Grady also has this vibe with Adam, though given their history, it often comes across more like a law-abiding father who's frustrated with his rebellious son.
  • Vorpal Pillow: In "Remember Me," the Villain of the Week tries to smother Adam's elderly foster-father with his own pillow while he's recovering in hospital from an earlier assault. Fortunately, Adam comes into the room just in time to catch the would-be killer, who unfortunately escapes into the crowd outside the hospital.
  • We Do Not Know Each Other: During "Countdown," to divert the villain's attention away from detecting that he and Malloy are talking about Adam working to free them and several other hostages, Grady invokes Type 1 by knocking Malloy aside and calling her a "crazy lady," insisting he doesn't know her. Malloy gets him back for it at the end of the episode.
    Malloy: (slugs Grady in the gut) That was for hitting me.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Roughly Once an Episode, Grady catches hell from Adam whenever the former uses his usual hot-blooded tactics to try and solve the episode's problem, oftentimes without informing Adam, which in turn leads to the police's investigation of the situation getting even more complicated or the perp filing complaints against the department.
    • Adam himself is on the receiving end of a harsh lecture from Willis in "The Group," after he uses their mutual support group for Vietnam War veterans to subtly interrogate, collect evidence on and then arrest the newest member, who Adam suspects of being behind the killings of three Vietnamese women over a two-week period.
    Willis: Good bust for you, huh?
    Adam: When I get a killer off the streets, it's always a good bust.
    Willis: You used us, man. You used the group.
    Adam: The guy is dangerous.
    Willis: Adam, every guy in our group is dangerous. And they got but one place to open up and talk about it. And you come and you trample all over it.
  • Workaholic: Lt. Pine acts as this in "The Long Way Home," obsessing over a rash of burglaries that he hasn't had any leads on up to the time the episode starts. The episode also deconstructs the effect of such a mindset—Pine's so obsessed with solving the case that he's taken to sleeping in his office; his wife has left him and is filing for divorce because she can't stand to see him wrecking himself any longer; he misses a lunch-date with his visiting father; his stress-level gets so high that he angrily assaults a civilian, badmouths a reporter over the phone, and puts a bullet into Adam's TV set when the news media criticizing his lack of success with the case sets him off; and Grady explicitly tells him that he's putting himself at risk for ulcers and a heart attack if he doesn't relax.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Hardin holds a little boy hostage in an effort to escape from Grady, and succeeds (the kid comes out unharmed, thankfully). This trope also drives the plot of S02E13, "A Sense of Duty," when the Villain of the Week makes several attempts on the life of an eight-year-old boy who witnessed him shooting a rival drug dealer.
  • Xanatos Gambit: One episode has one of these that's instigated by the police's top brass, when they pair Adam with a female cop in an undercover operation as an arms-dealing married couple to lure out a wanted gun-runner. The female cop is actually an Internal Affairs agent who's checking to find out if Adam's a Dirty Cop. The idea is that, in addition to nabbing the players in the gun-running operation, the agent will bait Adam to say something that'll reveal him to be corrupted, leading to him being arrested by Internal Affairs, or Adam will prove to be clean after all—however the whole thing turns out, top brass gets what it wants. For his part, though, Adam is not happy when he finds out, especially when he learns the gambit had Lt. Pine's sanction, and the incident leads to him losing some trust in his fellow officers, including Pine.
  • You Killed My Father: Hardin was playing both sides of the Vietnam War during his tour of duty, and he gave the Viet Cong information to suggest that Grady's parents were in fact spies, leading to the village where they were staying being torched.