Follow TV Tropes


Series / The Collector (2004)
aka: The Collector

Go To
Ah, Hell. Isn't it lovely? These are all my little souls. I used to gather them myself, but by the 14th century, I needed some help. That's how I found Morgan. He was a monk back then, so he played hard-to-get, but I found that with the right bait, you can catch any fish you want. In the end, he came to work for me. He became a collector. Then, recently, he made me the most interesting proposal. He wants to seek salvation for his clients. I decided to let him try — for now.
The Devil, Opening Narration

The Collector (20042006) is a Canadian TV series about a man, Morgan Pym (Chris Kramer), who made a Deal with the Devil to save his love. He now helps collect the souls of others who made deals, and is allowed 48 hours to help them seek redemption before their time is up.

The other main characters are Maya Kandinski (Carly Pope/Sonya Salomaa), a former prostitute and drug addict who reminds Morgan of his lost love; Jeri Slate (Ellen Dubin), an investigative reporter who notices something strange about Morgan; her son Gabe (Aidan Drummond), an autistic child with a mystical connection to Morgan; and her sister Taylor (Christine Chatelain), who takes care of Gabe when she's gone.

The first two seasons were released on DVD in 2008 and 2009.

Not to be confused with the 2005 Serbian sci-fi series Sakupljač (The Collector), or 1963 novel The Collector, or the 1965 William Wyler film based on the novel.

Provides examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Satan
  • All There in the Manual: The official website has a full timeline of Morgan's life, including periods not explored in the series.
  • And I Must Scream:
  • Balloon Belly: Happens to the titular woman in "The Supermodel".
  • Beard of Evil: While meeting the younger Morgan in flashbacks, the Devil takes the form of a goateed Colin Cunningham.
  • Bitter Sweet Ending: Even when Morgan saves the client it usually comes at a price (in the Prosecutor the client dies, and in the Ice Skater it turns out that the father had ALSO made a deal with the devil but kept his mouth shut because he wanted Morgan to focus on saving his daughter).
  • The Black Death: Features prominently in Morgan's past.
  • Big "NO!": Morgan after Katrina's death.
  • Bottle Episode: The Season 1 finale, "1348 A.D.," tells the full story of Morgan's life as a monk and love of Katrina. The scenes in the present are of Morgan pacing alone in his apartment, the other main stars are missing, there's only one non-recurring guest star, and the flashback scenes are made up of clips from previous episodes interwoven with new scenes to form a complete narrative.
  • Breast Expansion: In the third episode of the first season, a svelte supermodel rejoices when she finds her breasts swelling to massive size, but expresses grim dismay when the same thing happens to her ass.
  • Chosen One:
    • Morgan was God's chosen instrument to discover the cure for Plague, centuries ahead of reality. The Devil successfully distracted him from this role.
    • One episode involves a great spirit periodically guided to an Amerindian tribe, the latest being their needed savior, whom the Devil also tries to distract from her role.
  • Deal with the Devil: The premise of the show. Anyone can make a deal with the Devil, but it only lasts for 10 years, after which everything the Devil gave falls apart and your soul gets sucked into Hell.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: See Splash of Color below.
  • Demonic Dummy: The Devil took this form once. The human-looking ventriloquist was his dummy.
  • Demonic Possession: Features in "The Exorcist," wherein a demon blames it for humans' evil deeds.
  • Devil, but No God: Whether or not this is true is left deliberately ambiguous, but Morgan's personal belief leans towards this. Averted with Maya; once she learns the Devil exists, she believes that God must exist to balance things out.
  • Downer Ending: Morgan doesn't always succeed in saving the client, which is the only reason The Devil lets him keep trying. Usually it's because the client was too stubborn or short-sighted to do what needed to be done to save themselves, sometimes not though which makes it all the harder to watch.
  • Enhance Button: Treated a bit more realistically than usual in "The Photographer," where the pictures they blow up and enhance remain blurry.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Literal example; the Devil identifies himself by letting the fires of Hell show through his pupils. Collectors also exhibit it when they are transformed.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Morgan's Healing Factor is shown A LOT. Which also shows the hellfire filling him, and is a fitting holdover from his early days as a flagellant monk.
  • Gotta Catch Them All:
    • One client got the ability to get rid of guilt by transferring it to others through tattoos, turning them into sinners. His redemption required finding them all and completing their tattoos, restoring his memories of the guilt's reason as well as their original behavior.
    • Another client had to re-absorb the people made from her split personalities.
  • Healing Factor: Morgan and other Collectors have Immortality this way. When they are injured or killed, hellfire burns in their wounds to heal them. A client also exhibited it with fatal wounds; because of the Devil's obligation to clients, they are protected from death for the duration of their deal, one way or another.
  • Hell Gate: Appears to collect.
  • Hollywood Exorcism: Features in the series finale, "The Exorcist," including the thrashing around, the fake exorcism rituals, the telekinesis, and a variation on the spinning head theme.
  • Human Sacrifice: One client got an extension that would require one every 10 years. The Devil said he had the same arrangement with the Phoenicians.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Almost every episode is titled after the reason the client sold their soul — usually the name of their job. This is occasionally used for a bit of misdirection; for example, the title character of "The Children's Book Writer" actually sold his soul to be a serial killer.
  • Improvised Weapon: In "The Exorcist," a priest knocks out a man by hitting him over the head with a crucifix.
  • Incendiary Exponent: The collectors' Healing Factor. A client with X-Ray Vision said Morgan and the Devil's avatar are "full of fire".
  • Intrepid Reporter: Jeri Slate, who grows suspicious of Morgan and later obsessed after noticing that he's been around for some high-profile deaths.
  • Invisible to Normals: The portal to Hell can only be seen and heard by clients.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Applied to Morgan twice. Didn't work, of course. He must have built up resistance to pain from the fatal injuries he keeps getting.
  • Karma Houdini: "The Children's Book Writer"
  • Lilliputians: "The Miniaturist" revolves around mute lilliputians given to a miniature maker, which he tries to raise in a society better than the one outside.
  • Literal Genie: The Devil ensures that a poorly-phrased deal will backfire. For example, Katrina dies of The Plague after Morgan's 10-year deal is up because Morgan asked for "more time with her," not that she be fully cured and live. Or in Carter Baines's case, he asked for the ability to win. Even though he made the deal to put away the guilty, the fact that he only asked for the ability to win ensured that a lot of innocent people got put away.
  • Little Miss Badass: Isabelle in Episode 4. Satan tries to bully her into agreeing to an extension by subjecting her to about a minute of what life in hell will be like. She tells him to fuck off, prompting Satan to lose his cool.
  • Loophole Abuse: Used in one episode to great effect. The deal in this case was the the undersigned would get to kill anyone he wished without consequences for the duration of the contract. In this case, he wanted to kill Morgan, which he can't do because Morgan will live as long as the Devil allows. Since technically he didn't hold up his end of the bargain, the Devil had to let him out of the contract. However, in this case, the man in question is truly evil to his core, so he'll most likely end up in Hell anyway when his life ends.
  • Machine Worship: One client was a roboticist who sold her soul to the devil so she could build a robot capable of thought. When her time was nearly up for her to be damned to hell, she places her mind in the robot's body, proclaiming she will now be free, immortal and perfect. But her body ends up malfunctioning, and incapable of moving at all but still fully conscious.
  • Meaningful Name: Maya is a concept from Hinduism meaning illusion or delusion, referring to the idea that what we experience is a self-created projection of our environment, not the environment itself. Spelled backwards, as the character Maya did when she was a child, it becomes "I am"; Gabe used it in this manner in Season 3.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: The Devil doesn't exactly take well to hearing the pain and evil thoughts of everyone in the universe.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: While mocking a Hindu, the Devil briefly sprouts two extra arms, one holding a magazine and one scratching himself.
  • The Nth Doctor:
    • Each episode has a new guest star playing the role of the Devil, showing how he can appear in whatever form is necessary to put his victims at ease. The only recurring actor is Colin Cunningham, who plays the Devil as he appeared to Morgan in the 14th century and provides the series' opening narration.
    • Maya Kandinski is played by Carly Pope in Season 1, then Sonya Salomaa in Seasons 2 & 3. This is explained in-universe with the Devil giving Maya a new body and altering reality around it, and Maya's angst and confusion at her vague memories of Carly Pope's likeness become a major plot point.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Morgan redeems the Children's Book Writer... except that the guy is a vicious serial killer, and because he's fled (and can drag Morgan and himself down to hell if he's caught), Morgan's essentially allowed a monster to escape justice. Notably, it's implied Satan allowed this to fuck with Morgan.
  • Off with His Head!: One client made a deal the moment she was beheaded. Also happened to Morgan once. He got better.
  • The Omniscient: The Devil. The limits of his awareness and power are not entirely clear, but he can see into people's minds across the whole universe.
  • Omniscient Morality License: The Devil implies that he has one, and that he only seeks to do good. He's chided Morgan for overestimating his own ability to judge a person's character.
  • Opening Narration: See the page quote.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: One client was turned into her idea of a vampire, which she mistakenly thought was already real.
  • Post-Modern Magik: Collectors used to have magic rings. Now they have magic cellphones.
  • Public Domain Character: Jack the Ripper, who ends up being a woman who sold her soul to shapeshift into a man to kill her victims.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: Jeri, after one of Morgan's clients tries to run' she ends up telling Jeri about her deal and they both get sent to Hell.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Morgan.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Carter Baines. There's also the father in "The Ice Skater;" he goes to hell, but he deliberately ensured that Morgan wouldn't know because he wanted Morgan to save his daughter, since he himself wanted to make amends for all the things he'd done.
  • Replaced the Theme Tune: The third season opening credits get a new theme tune and animation style, minus the Opening Narration used for the first and part of the second seasons.
  • Revenge Before Reason: "The Watchmaker". The Time Traveller could have avoided his fate to Hell if he had saved the descendant of the man that murdered his lover. He didn't.
  • Rules Lawyer: The Devil uses the letter of the rules to screw the people who make deals, and to screw Morgan. Overlaps with Literal Genie.
  • Satan
  • Satan Is Good: Or so he claims.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: "The Actuary" begins with a prediction that an actuary will kill a dangerous mobster. The mobster chasing him down to stop the prediction sets the events in motion that make the prediction come true.
  • Self-Inflicted Hell: See Machine Worship above. The devil pays the electricity bills for the next millennium and congratulates her for being his first client to literally devise their own personal hell.
  • Self-Mutilation Demonstration: One client doesn't remember or believe that she made a deal, so Morgan cuts himself to prove it.
  • Splash of Color: Katrina's red hair in Deliberately Monochrome flashbacks of Morgan's life in the 14th century.
  • Stripped to the Bone: Morgan's hand when dipped into some chemicals during interrogation.
  • Super Empowering: Done by the Devil to collectors and some clients.
  • A Taste of the Lash: Morgan was a flagellant monk.
  • Temporary Bulk Change: One of the victims made a deal as a teen to transfer her excess fat to her sweet sister, allowing her to become a model. When it's time for her to pay up, she piles it back on in a matter of hours.
  • Tempting Apple: The Devil peddles weird black apples "plucked from the tree of knowledge you'd rather not have". They make people realize unpleasant things about themselves, sometimes by restoring forgotten memories.
  • Time Stands Still:
    • Used by the Devil sometimes to talk in privacy. Or to offer a deal to someone who is seconds away from death.
    • One client asked for the power to make time stop around him. The result was somewhat closer to actual time stoppage than the usual frozen world, and he did not like it.
  • The Voiceless: Gabe is physically capable of speech, but never speaks to anyone until Season 3. The first word he says in the show, "goodbye" right before his mother dies, comes as quite a shock.
  • Waif Prophet: Gabe, a non-verbal autistic child, is one of the few people who can see through the Devil's disguises.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "1348 A.D."; "The Ripper"; "Beginnings"; "The Alchemist."
  • Wham Line: From "The Old Man":
    Maya: He's like a father!
    Maya's father: Please. He wants to have sex with you!
    Maya: Isn't that what ALL fathers want?
  • The Wild West: The client of the Season 2 premiere lived out the deal in his idealized version of this trope. Morgan was actually there and tells him a little about how bad it really was.

Alternative Title(s): The Collector