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Series / The Secret Circle

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A series on the The CW based on a book trilogy by L. J. Smith, who also created The Vampire Diaries.

Cassie Blake thought she was just a normal girl, until her mother is murdered by a witch who makes it look like a gas explosion. She moves in with her grandmother, and soon comes to the attention of five of her new classmates. They're all children of witches, and explain to Cassie that her mother was a witch too. And with Cassie in town, they now have a full "circle" of six members, meaning their powers have increased dramatically. Cassie must decide for herself whether to accept what it appears destiny has in store for her. Meanwhile, her mother's killer is also a resident, and the father of one of the Circle.

Slightly longer version: Following the death of her mother, Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson) moves to Chance Harbor, Washington to live with her grandmother. Her attempts to adjust to the new town are crushed when five of her classmates, Adam Conant (Thomas Dekker), Diana Meade (Shelley Hennig), Faye Chamberlain (Phoebe Tonkin), Melissa Glaser (Jessica Parker Kennedy), and Nick Armstrong (Louis Hunter), reveal to Cassie that she comes from a long line of witches and is the final member of their coven; with her they are able to unlock the full extent of their powers. Initially Cassie refuses to believe that she is a witch, even after Adam helps her to unlock her powers. It is only after she discovers an old leather-bound book of spells left to her by her late mother, Amelia, that Cassie begins to accept her power. Inside the book is a message to Cassie explaining that she kept their real family history and her powers a secret in order to keep her safe; as the circle soon finds out, their powers attract dark and dangerous attention that constantly puts them in harm's way.

The show first premiered on September 15, 2011 and was cancelled on May 11, 2012 after only one season with 22 episodes.

Has a Character Sheet with the main members of the Circle, the parents/families, the supporting characters and the antagonists/villains.

Tropes in this series include:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • In "Bound" Faye (Phoebe Tonkin) mentions that she doesn't want to "save turtles" as a reference to her former role as mermaid Cleo in H₂O: Just Add Water, who indeed saved turtles from nets.
    • Grey Damon plays a character who gets killed by a girl with supernatural powers.
    • It's also not the first time Jane's memory has been tampered with.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Cassie is a brunette in the books but on the show, she is blonde. Despite the differences in hair color, Cassie in both the novel and television adaptations both have blue eyes.
    • Diana in the books is a blonde but on the show, she is a brunette.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Described by Faye as the "creepiest place on earth'', with Monster Clown statues and murals, dark and dirty rooms, and not improved by the addition of real corpses.
  • Antihero: Almost all of the characters on the show fit this criteria of anti-heroes, with the exception of Adam and Diana.
    • Cassie is a Type II after she discovers that she is a witch. She becomes more of a Type III as the series progresses later on after she discovers her heritage of Dark Magic. When she lets her dark magic overtake her, she becomes a Type IV or Type V. As the series progresses, although Cassie has good intentions and uses her powers to save people, she also becomes much of a darker individual especially when she discovers her Dark Magic ancestry.
    • Faye could be classified as a Type III or a Type IV. Although she generally has good intentions and wants to help people more so than hurt people, she still is willing to cross the moral or questionable line from time to time and has too much of a morally grey mentality to classify as an Ideal Heroine.
    • Melissa could be classified as a Type II, possibly Type III.
    • Nick could be seen as a Type III, possibly Type II.
    • Jake starts off as a Type IV or Type V. As the series progresses, Jake becomes more of a Type III.
    • Charles could classify as a Type V in the beginning. As the series progressed, Charles became more of a Type III.
    • Dawn could classify as a Type III or a Type IV
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Faye is tall, brunette, edgy, calm and composed, even aloof. She is rather statuesque in appearance and has a very commanding presence.
  • Anyone Can Die: As you'd expect from the team behind The Vampire Diaries. Significantly speaking, it starts with Nick and continues on through Jane, much to the Circle's grief.
  • Back from the Dead: Nick Came Back Wrong, though Melissa finishes him off to save Jake.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Cassie possesses Dark Magic ancestry. Her dark magic abilities are highly powerful and Cassie would sometimes let her dark magic overtake her. Cassie admitted to Diana that she liked using her dark magic and she got a thrill and excitement out of it. Later on in the series, Cassie was seen to be starting to overuse her dark magic; Diana would often warn her to stop overusing her dark magic and letting it overtake her. It showed that Cassie was strongly capable of becoming very dangerous if she did not stop overusing her dark magic and she let it overtake her. Sometimes her dark magic would consume Cassie so much that her logic and her morals would slip right out the window and she would therefore, become unpredictable and unrecognizable. Diana also possesses dark magic just like Cassie, however, Diana is able to keep it under control and instead, keep her morals and her logic intact. This is because unlike Cassie, Diana is seen to be more levelheaded, calmer and more practical in how she approaches things in general, while Cassie has been seen to be more impulsive, more unpredictable and more hotheaded.
  • Bathtub Scene: In "Beneath" Faye takes a bath in her grandpa's cabin to try to relax. At first it looks like a fanservice scene with her stretching her legs out of the tub, but soon her bath gets interrupted by all bathwater suddenly being replaced by mud and seaweeds and Faye screams in panic. Fade to Black and we come back to a towel clad Faye checking the now normal bathtub along with Diana and Cassie, who despite being witches, just assume Faye was drunk and imagined the whole thing.
  • Batman Gambit: Apparently the binding of the new circle's powers is exactly what Dawn Chamberlain and Charles Meade wanted in the first place.
  • Because Destiny Says So: A major theme of the series, with just about everything happening because of it. As well, Adam's father claims that he and Cassie's mother were destined to be together, and things went wrong because that didn't happen.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Cassie and Jake have it as do Charles and Dawn
  • Betty and Veronica Switch: In the Cassie/Adam/Diana Love Triangle, Cassie initially appears to be a timid and shy Girl Next Door while Diana, she is a confident and mature witch. As the series progresses, Cassie becomes more extroverted, ambitious, and willing to use her dark magic, but Diana grows more isolated and more cautious about the consequences of their actions. The point is driven home when Diana learns that she has dark magic as well. She makes it very clear that she will not be as reckless with it as Cassie is. This is in contrast to their initial characterizations, Cassie desiring to stay away from the circle, and Diana to embrace their birthright as witches. Adam's interests tend towards which girl is more The Veronica at any given time. He is initially dating Diana, (she is a Victorious Childhood Friend), they break up as the personality shift starts, and he starts dating Cassie a few episodes later.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Charles and Dawn, who often seem on the verge of stabbing each other in the back — and the witch hunters (especially Eben), neither of whom really seem to know about each other. There's also the threat of demons, along with anything else that may come up.
  • Black Magic: John Blackwell and his two daughters, Cassie and Diana, all possess dark magic due to their ancestry. Dark magic is the most deadly and dangerous form of magic.
    • Dark Magic possess the same capabilities as regular magic, though it appears to be slightly more potent. Unlike regular magic, dark magic is not limited by coven laws, as witches bound within circles are capable of using their dark magic without collective aid. Cassie Blake has successfully performed dark magic on several occasions while bound to her circle and was also capable of using regular magic as well, revealing witches that perform both dark magic and "white magic" appear to be able to distinguish the two apart and use them separately.
    • Dark magic has been shown to penetrate an iron sulphate circle which is supposed to block a witch's magic while inside the circle. Cassie Blake was capable of setting a witch hunter on fire using her dark magic, despite the fact that she was inside the iron sulphate circle as well.
    • Dark Magic also appears to grant its users a unique connection to other's minds, allowing them to view another's memories. Cassie Blake was able to see an apparition of Faye's memory while others could not with the exception of Faye. This connection was seen again when Cassie performed a spell to recall the "lost" memories of Jake Armstrong.
    • Dark magic also appears to have a unique connection with other forms of magic (though the exact nature is unknown), as Cassie and Diana were noted to be the only witches that could form the crystal skull. Dark magic mostly appears to be an innate quality, however Royce Armstrong mentioned that John Blackwell wanted to teach the circle dark magic. Because dark magic is rooted and accessed by negative emotions (anger/hate), it's possible to some degree it can be achieved by those that do not come from dark lineage like the Blackwells.
  • Black Magician Girl: Primarily Cassie and even Diana. Both possess dark magic and can be dangerous.
  • Brainy Brunette: Diana. She is the smartest one of the core group and often takes the lead because of her smarts and capability. Later on, Cassie seems to take the lead more often alongside Diana as Cassie begins to accept her witch ancestry.
  • Break the Cutie: In the past few episodes, Diana found out the man who raised her wasn't her father, her mother cheated on him, and, worst of all, he murdered Cassie's mother. Cassie has suffered just as much, though, what with being manipulated into making Adam forget his love for her and then losing her grandmother, her only blood family aside from her half-sister and their father.
  • But Now I Must Go: Jake does this after saving Cassie, though he soon returns.
    • Diana does the same in "Family", since she's lost her father and can't handle having dark magic.
  • Canon Foreigner: Jake didn't exist in the books.
  • The Casanova: Jake is very much a ladies man, his good looks and bad boy attitude already have most girls being into him, and according to Faye he's no slouch in the sack.
  • The Chessmaster: Blackwell to the extreme. Not only does he seem to have a plan for everything, "Prom" reveals that he planned the entire existence of the Circle by casting a fertility spell.
  • Cute Witch: Cassie, Diana, Melissa all classify as this.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Cassie certainly is this.
    Jake: A storm is coming. [a storm in the sky]
    Cassie: You think? What gave it away, the clouds or the thunder?
  • Demonic Possession: Heather had been possessed by the demon Abaddon, which is why Cassie's mother put a binding spell on her. Heather eventually dies after being run over by a car and the demon then proceeds to possess Melissa at the end of episode 4, before eventually being killed while possessing Nick.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Nick was Cassie's Love Interest in the books. In the series he is quickly killed off and replaced by his older brother Jake (who wasn't in the books).
    • Jane was also prominent in the first nine episodes. Since then, she's only appeared a couple of times before getting killed off like Nick.
  • Destructive Romance: Faith and Jake's relationship isn't very healthy, especially for Faye. The last time Jake broke up with her and left town, Faye became very depressed and according to Melissa, she almost ended up in a mental hospital.
  • Elemental Powers: Though not proven false or accurate, witches are believed to possess a unique affinity to particular elements which grants them greater mastery and control when performing.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Charles is horrified when Dawn suggests that they kill his mother and the other witch hunters are genuinely afraid of Eben.
  • Evil All Along: John Blackwell, though this was fairly obvious to some people.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: A side effect of Demonic Possession, natch.
  • Familial Foe: In the books, Black John is an evil warlock who was part of the community that founded New Salem. Over the centuries, he has twice returned in an effort to make the descendants of his former allies bow down to his will, killing many of them when they refuse. His third attempt takes place when the children of many of his previous victims (and the daughter he fathered with one of the young witches he was manipulating) are teenagers, and they defeat him for good. In the TV adaptation, John Blackwell isn't immortal, but he still tries to corrupt the parents of many of the main characters in a quest for power, causing him to be hated by many of their grandparents, as well as the kids themselves when they find out the truth.
  • Fantastic Drug:
    • The concoction Nick and Faye were taking in Episode 2. Magic itself could also count.
    • "Medallion" introduces us to a magical "enhancer" called Devil's Spirit.
  • Fate Drives Us Together: Adam and Cassie's relationship. Fate and destiny is a driving force of their relationship. It has been repeatedly stated throughout that Adam and Cassie are destined and fated to be together.
    • The same was said for Cassie's mother, Amelia and Adam's father, Ethan.
  • The Heart: Cassie. She brings everyone together within the Circle.
  • The Hecate Sisters: Cassie, Diana and Faye, with Cassie as the Maiden, Diana is the Matron and Faye as the Crone.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Faye and Melissa. Also Diana and Cassie.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Eben seems to have become this from fighting John Blackwell
  • Hot Witch: All of the witches we see end up being a Head-Turning Beauty. It's unclear if this is an attribute of witches as a whole or just Hollywood Beauty Standards.
  • Hugh Mann: Abaddon doesn't do an especially good job pretending to be Melissa, and ends up holding Nick at scissor-point to make the others obey when they catch on.
  • Hypocrite: Eben, leader of the witch hunters, employs a witch — thought to be a former member of the old Circle, but it's actually Nick — and kills witches with magic even when they're defenseless.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Cassie, especially at the beginning of the series. At first, not only is Cassie skeptical of witches and witchcraft, but when she does eventually come to accept her witch heritage, she wants nothing to do with it and tries to escape it as much as possible, feeling that it brings nothing but trouble and pain.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Faye always wants to stand out and be the ultimate center of attention. She often resorts to using her powers to start storms in order to gain attention so that she can show off and appear badass. It usually doesn't end so well though.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Although Faye comes off as very sarcastic and bitchy, it is seen to be a facade to cover up her inner vulnerability. Deep down, Faye cares about her friends, especially Melissa, whom she always looks out for.
    • Also, Jake. Jake appears to be rather brooding, cocky and overconfident. However, much of this is a facade to hide his inner vulnerability.
  • Kill It with Fire: Luke, the witchhunter; also the demon snakes.
  • Kill It with Water: The demon Abaddon is killed when Diana's father drowns his host body, Nick, at the marina.
  • Love Triangle:
    • Adam is in a relationship with Diana, but has UST with Cassie. Diana breaks up with him in "Wake" because of it.
    • Later, there was a love triangle between Adam/Cassie/Jake later on in the season.
  • Morality Pet:
    • Adam prevents Cassie from going over the edge, especially in regards to her Dark Magic. Adam, along with Diana, is one of the few people who can actually get through to Cassie.
  • Diana for Cassie especially in regards to Cassie and her usage of her dark magic. Diana often stops Cassie from going over the edge and letting the power that comes along with her dark magic to overtake and consume her.
  • Redemption Equals Death:
    • Charles in the season finale, though he may still be alive — we see him in a catatonic state at the end of the episode, with his mother doing something to his body.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Adam and Cassie's relationship. They are destined to be together. In the novel series, Adam and Cassie are tied together by the Red String of Fate.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Adam and Jake. Adam is the Sensitive Guy to Jake's Manly Man.
  • Shipper on Deck: Ethan is a hardcore Cassie and Adam shipper, believing that they're destined to be together. He even convinces Diana to break up with Adam.
  • Ship Sinking: "Lucky" does this for Adam and Cassie when we find out that bad things happen when they have sex. It turns out that John Blackwell made up the curse, but the ship still seems to be sunk.
  • Shirtless Scene: Nick has these often. Lampshaded by Cassie when she wonders if he even owns a shirt.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Half-sisters Cassie and Diana are in competition both in terms of being The Leader of the Circle and both being in a Love Triangle with Adam.
  • Single Line of Descent: The coven are all descendants of six witch families (twelve in the books). How six families managed to intermarry for 300 years without inbreeding is a hefty bit of Fridge Logic. It's later explained that there are other witches and circles within Chance Harbor, allowing for new blood to enter the coven, and while the Circle is made of six witch families, the previous Circle contained twelve witches (a member from each of the families and their spouse).
  • The Smart Girl: Diana. She is the one who is the brains and logic of the Circle.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Adam and Cassie. Something...or someone, whether it is Cassie's father John Blackwell, or Jake Armstrong, is always trying to keep Adam and Cassie apart. Also including all of the other outside obstacles surround Adam and Cassie that manages to come between them.
  • Superpower Lottery: All of the witch and warlock characters have various strong powers and abilities. The powers vary amongst the witches and warlocks. Some of the common powers include:
    • Spellcasting: The ability to cast spells.
    • Conjurgation: The ability to call or summon an object, person, element or spirit.
    • Elemental Control: The ability to control different elements such as water, air, fire, ice, etc.
    • Telekinesis: The ability to move objects with the use of the mind.
  • The Reveal: In "Balcoin", Isaac tells us that not only is Cassie the child of John Blackwell, but someone else in the Circle is as well. "Crystal" reveals the child to be Diana.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Diana is opposed to killing people and believes that killing someone should never be the first option to anything. Cassie, on the other hand, seems to think killing someone (mostly the bad guy) should be one of the top options in regards to solving problems. Diana is often seen as a Morality Pet for Cassie, especially in regards to Cassie and her usage of her dark magic. Diana often stops Cassie from going over the edge and letting the power that comes along with her dark magic to overtake and consume her.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Faye is a subversion: she has all the surface traits, but doesn't want to hurt anyone and is scared of losing control of her powers. Jake, on the other hand...
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak:
  • True Companions: The members of the Circle, but some more reluctantly than others. (Faye in particular wasn't much of a team player at first.) Of course, in their case they don't really have a choice, since their powers only work when two or more of them are together.
  • Wham Episode: "Witness", which ups the "Holy Shit!" Quotient with its revelations that the members of the old Circle were killed by witch hunters, not their unrestrained power, and the fire itself was started to kill Cassie's father, John Blackwell — but he turned it back on the hunters and escaped, and is still alive. Oh, and Adam's dad, Ethan, was present at the old boat and has his own dark side, demonstrated when he used the crystal to nearly drown Charles.
    • "Crystal" kills off Jane and reveals that Diana is Cassie's half-sister.
    • "Traitor" reveals that Nick is alive and has killed a number of the witch hunters.
    • "Prom" kills Nick off for good and reveals that Blackwell arranged for the Circle to be born — oh, and Diana discovers to her horror that Charles killed Amelia.
    • "Family" outdoes them all, fitting for a season finale — the Circle gets unbound by the creation of the Crystal Skull, Jake kills Eben and Charles drowns himself to get rid of the demons, Blackwell plans to kill all witches without Balcoin blood and build a Circle of pure darkness, and Cassie and Diana manage to turn the tables on him after the latter's own dark magic is unleashed...oh, and Diana leaves with Grant at the end, unable to handle everything that's happened, though not before making some kind of peace with Cassie. However, it seems that the other four Balcoin witches have arrived in Chance Harbor and are already connected to Cassie and Diana... It's a shame the show's been canceled.
  • Wham Line: Specifically, the moment in "Crystal" when Diana reveals she didn't help Adam and Melissa because she couldn't enter the mine — she's Blackwell's other child and thus has dark magic.
    • Moreso the line that set it up from "Balcoin" from Isaac. "Cassie Blake is not the only child of Balcoin in the circle."
  • White Magic: This is the type of magic that all of the witches within the inner circle (Cassie, Adam, Diana, Melissa, Faye, Nick and Jake) all practice. Although, Cassie, along with Diana, have dabbled in Black Magic from time to time.
    • White Magic is the influencing of events by supernatural means. White Magic can often be split into dark and light, though depending on the situation, can also be neutral. Magic is both a genetic heredity and a studied technique that connects a person to the elements and forces of nature in order to practice sorcery.
    • With White Magic, you don't have to worry about malevolent side effects. (There may be a sacrifical cost to prove your commitment.) Whereas evil gods tend to despise their human patsies, genuinely good deities tend to genuinely like their devotees.
  • You Killed My Father: Jake gets his revenge on Eben in "Family" — and it was a long time coming.