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Series / The Coroner

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The Coroner is a BBC drama series set in the fictional South Devon coastal town of Lighthaven. Jane Kennedy is a high-flying solicitor who finds herself returning to her hometown after yet another failed relationship. She ends up taking the post of local Coroner, and finds herself working alongside Detective Sergeant Davey Higgins, the man who broke her heart back when they were teenage sweethearts.

Jane and Davey investigate any sudden, violent or unexplained deaths that happen in the South Hams district, and often find themselves having to work together to find out what is really going on behind the scenes. There's also a lot of Unresolved Sexual Tension between Jane and Davey, though it has yet to come to anything. Jane also has to deal with her somewhat eccentric mother and step-father, and her moody teenage daughter Beth.

The Coroner ran for two series, with ten episodes in each, before being cancelled in March 2017. However there is currently a petition to bring the show back for a third series. Not to be confused with the Canadian series Coroner.

The Coroner contains examples of:

  • Always Murder: Averted. "Unlawful Killing" is the most common verdict, but Jane often comes to other conclusions. Even when it is Unlawful Killing, it's often clearly no more than manslaughter.
  • Armed Blag: In "Pieces of Eight", a gang of robbers dressed as pirates snatch an armoured van delivering cash to the bank.
  • Black Widow: In "The Deep Freeze", a Gold Digger who has already buried two husbands becomes an obvious suspect when her third husband dies in a suspicious 'accident'. The actual killer was counting on her reputation making her the most likely suspect to divert attention from themselves. Jane is convinced that she murdered her first two husbands but cannot prove it.
  • Candlelit Bath: Jane takes one will attempting to de-stress during "The Fisherman's Tale".
  • Chute Sabotage: In "The Drop Zone", the chief instructor, Rafe, of a sky diving school falls to his death when his main and reserve parachute fail to open. The parachutes having being tampered with leads to suspicion of murder by one of his colleagues and when Jane receives a medical report that he had a terminal illness suicide becomes another possibility.
  • The Coroner: Jane takes a more 'hands on' approach than most coroners. The show gets it right in depicting coroner as a judicial position, and the medical examiner as completely separate.
  • Cryptid Episode: In "The Beast of Lighthaven", Beth is camping with friends overnight on the moors, and is frightened by animal noises and discovers a savaged sheep. Posting a picture on social media arouses the interest of local journalist Ben Fairhead of the Lighthaven Star. Fairhead believes the picture will convince the locals and police of his belief that a big cat is loose on the moors. Then Fairhead turns up dead on the moors...
  • Death by Falling Over: The Victim of the Week in "The Salcombe Selkie" dies when he hits his head after being shoved during a struggle with his killer.
  • Death Faked for You: In "The Salcombe Selkie", a girl turns up seven months after being declared dead and buried. In the end, it turns out that the person who felt guilty for her disappearance bribed the medical examiner to deliberately misidentify a body that washed on the beach as hers.
  • Film the Hand: In "That's the Way to Do It", the mayor of Lighthaven does this after she is photographed attacking a Punch and Judy booth.
  • Flashed-Badge Hijack: Davey does this in "The Drop Zone" when he commandeers a dirt bike in order to chase a suspect who is fleeing on a quad bike.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: This is attempted in "The Salcombe Selkie" (although the crime the guilty party is framed for is more serious than the one they actually committed). However, the guilty party is murdered before the frame can come fully into effect.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm : In "That's the Way to Do It", the Victim of the Week is beaten to death with a champagne bottle.
  • Groin Attack: In "Capsized", a hulking bruiser throws Davey across the pub yard and into a wall. Judith calmly walks up to him, taps him on the shoulder and knees him him the groin when he turns round; smiling sweetly the entire time. The bruiser crumples to the floor as the pub erupts in applause.
  • A Handful for an Eye: When Davey tries to arrest a suspect at a building site in "The Captain's Pipe", the suspect grabs a handful of sand out of a wheelbarrow and flings it in Davey's eyes before attempting to escape.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Murderer Sidney Sutton attempts this on Jane when she is conducting an investigation of a murder committed in prison in "Life". He doesn't entirely succeed, but he gets inside her head enough that she falls for a deliberate piece of misdirection on his part.
  • "Hey, You!" Haymaker: In "Capsized", Judith taps a thug who has just beaten up Davey on the shoulder, and then delivers a Groin Attack as he turns around.
  • Hooks and Crooks: At the end of "Pieces of Eight", Jane confronts one of the robbers on board a sailing ship. The robber grabs a cargo hook and attempts to kill Jane with it.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: In "Perfectly Formed", Lee Milar refers to the dead baby as 'him', prompting Jane to ask how they knew it was a boy.
  • Leg Focus: Jane has lovely long legs, and most of her outfits are devoted to showing them off in some way; though most of the time it's done very tastefully.
  • Locked in a Freezer: A literal version of this trope occurs in "The Deep Freeze", where the Victim of the Week is murdered by being drugged and shut in a freezer in an ice cream factory.
  • Locked Room Mystery: In "Napoleon's Violin", the Victim of the Week is stabbed to death inside a locked room.
  • Lotsa People Try to Dun It: In "That's the Way to Do It", the Victim of the Week is already dying as a result of having had her food spiked with shellfish to trigger a fatal allergic reaction. The second killer discovers her and beats her death with a champagne bottle. Both would-be murderers end up going to prison.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: The motivation for the murder in "The Deep Freeze". A factory manager is in love with boss and convinced that he feels the same way about her. When he marries a Gold Digger Black Widow and then plans to sell the company, she snaps and kills him in such a way as frame the wife for murder.
  • Medication Tampering: In "That's the Way to Do It", the unpopular mayor of Lighthaven has her scone spiked with shellfish (to which she is allergic) and her epi-pen and inhaler removed from her handbag. The would-be murderer knows that the allergy won't actually kick in until the mayor engages in vigorous exercise and also knows that she will be meeting up with her lover for an illicit sex session. The killer hopes the murder will be written off as exercise-induced anaphylaxis.
  • No Badge? No Problem!: Jane tends to take a far more active role in investigations than she really should, with Davey sometimes having to remind her that she is not a cop. Of course, she sometimes takes advantage of the fact that she isn't a cop to get witnesses and suspects to reveal things they would never tell the police.
  • Once an Episode: Every episode ends with Jane walking into court as the clerk announces "All rise for her Majesty's coroner".
  • Paper Key-Retrieval Trick: Done by the family of the Victim of the Week to enter the room where the murder has occurred at the start of "Napoleon's Violin". In this case, it is an old, unrenovated stately home.
  • Phoney Call: In "The Fisherman's Tale", Jane pretends that a call from her assistant Kent is actually from her mother, and uses it as an excuse to duck out of a very uncomfortable date.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: A Type 4 from "Life":
    Davey: Greed makes strange bedfellows.
    Jane: Shakespeare.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Done realistically in "The Drop Zone". Beth gets stuck in quicksand on a secluded beach, but is not actively being sucked down. She cannot save herself by lying back and floating (assuming that Beth would even know this) because doing so would cause her to put her head underwater. She has to call Davey to come and rescue her.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Part of the plot of "Capsized" involves a container ship wrecking off Devon, resulting in locals looting containers that wash ashore. In 2007, this is the fate that befell the container ship MSC Napoli – looters and all.
  • Salvage Pirates: "Capsized" involves a shipwreck that deposits multiple cargo containers on the coast. The locals start looting the containers, and Jane gets involved when one of the looters turns up dead in one of the containers.
  • Self-Offense: In "Those in Peril'', Jane attempts to save Mick when he is being strangled by attacking the assailant with stun gun she confiscated off Mick earlier. She ends up hitting Mick with the stun gun while the attacker flees.
  • Suicide by Assassin: The Victim of the Week in "The Fisherman's Tale" is revealed to have actually hired the sniper who killed him.
  • Suicide, Not Murder:
    • The Victim of the Week in "The Fisherman's Tale" is revealed to have actually hired the sniper who killed him.
    • A suicide is made to look like murder so the family will not lose the life insurance payout in "Napoleon's Violin".
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: In "That's the Way to Do It", the Victim of the Week has their food spiked with shellfish to trigger a fatal allergic reaction. However, someone else murders them before the allergic reaction can take effect.
  • That Man Is Dead: In "Perfectly Formed", Jane and Davey have worked out most of the details regarding the remains of the dead baby found in the cottage, including that the mother was Lisa Milar, and go to confront the remaining suspects. Once they learn the true circumstances of the birth and death and that Lisa Milar has undergone a sex change and is now Lee Milar, the group ask Davey what he intends to do. Davey answers "I came here to arrest Lisa Milar. There's no Lisa Milar here".
  • This Bear Was Framed: In "The Beast of Lighthaven", the Victim of the Week is a reporter obsessed with proving true local legends of 'the Beast of Lighthaven'; a big cat that is supposed to stalk the moors. He is found dead on the moors with his throat ripped out and what looks like wounds from a big cat.
  • Treasure Chest Cavity: In "Dirty Dancing", the body of a drug mule is stolen from the morgue so the smugglers can retrieve the drugs that are still inside the body.
  • Victim of the Week: Inherent in the show's set-up. The coroner only gets involved if there is a death to investigate.
  • Weaponized Allergy: In "That's the Way to Do It", the unpopular mayor of Lighthaven has her scone spiked with shellfish (to which she is allergic) and her epi-pen and inhaler removed from her handbag.
  • The West Country: As to be expected for a show set in Devon. Half the cast sound like pirates, and main income for the area seems to come from fishing, and tourism.