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Series / The Unusuals

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The number 42 has a different meaning to Detective Leo Banks.

An ABC quirky cop show which debuted in the spring of 2009 as a replacement for a different quirky cop show. The series revolves around the 2nd Precinct and the lives and secrets of its officers. Because of the limited episode number and the fate of the series it replaced, some wondered if The Firefly Effect would keep viewers away. Either way, hope you enjoyed it while you had the chance.

The main cast consists of the following:

  • Detective Casey Shraeger (Amber Tamblyn): Grew up rich and wealthy, but instead of embracing her heritage, she decided to become a cop. She used to work in vice and masquerade as a hooker until a transfer brought her to the 2nd.
  • Detective Jason Walsh (Jeremy Renner): Casey's partner. He used to play baseball in the minor and major leagues... until his girlfriend was killed by some thugs who wanted to intimidate him into throwing a few games.
  • Detective Eric Delahoy (Adam Goldberg): Was just diagnosed with an operable brain tumor, but he's afraid the surgery will leave him incapacitated. He doesn't want to tell anyone at work, but the cancer has left him with a bit of a death wish.
  • Detective Leo Banks (Harold Perrineau): Recently turned 42. On account of his father, uncle, and grandfather dropping dead at 42, Leo is convinced he'll share their fate. (The fact that 42 is the Answer probably doesn't help.) He walks around at all times in a bulletproof vest. His partner is, of course, Eric Delahoy.
  • Detective Allison Beaumont: (Monique Curren) Secretly dating Walsh. She is also secretly broke, on account of her pay being docked from a court settlement about some brutality charges.
  • Detective Henry Cole (Joshua Close): Allison's partner. He used to go by the name "Navan Granger" and was apparently a bit of a notorious criminal in Texas. He claims to have gone straight now, and is a devout Christian, but the crimes of his past seem to be catching up to him.
  • Detective Eddie Alvarez (Kai Lennox): Politically-driven cop with no concept of teamwork. He refers to himself in the third person. And speaks several languages and has excellent detective instincts.
  • Sergeant Harvey Brown (Terry Kinney): The head of the precinct, responsible for keeping these clowns in line. Also has an unexplained collection of astronaut/NASA memorabilia.

The show provides examples of:

  • The Atoner: Cole, who seems to earnestly regret his past as an armoured truck robber and just wants to live a Christian life as a cop in New York with his pretty wife. Time will tell whether he meets the fate of most atoners.
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name: Played with in universe. The guy who stole Banks' identity in one episode was going by the fake name Jimmy Kung-Fu already. Banks and Delahoy approach the name with disapproval.
  • Back Story: Everyone has one, and they all seem to be dark and tragic, laced with just the right amount of irony and humor
  • Bank Robbery: Featured in the episode "Boorland Day"
  • Black Comedy: The show alternates between this and straight-up drama
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Delahoy says this verbatim when accused of blackmailing a medical examiner to treat him for his brain tumor without anyone else finding out.
  • Black Market: The Murder Store seen in the episode "One Man Band"
  • Book Dumb: Walsh doesn't recognize the Periodic Table of Elements. As he puts it: "While [Casey] was hitting the books, I was hitting things with a bat."
  • Bulletproof Vest: Always worn by Leo.
  • Butt-Monkey: Alvarez, according to the other cops in his unit. He's been sent on wild goosechases and his desk has been moved into the holding cell.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Alvarez, who has difficulty accepting broken or even bent rules. He's such a straight arrow, he doesn't want to give another cop the benefit of the doubt on a possible murder rap ( the cop was innocent). His propensity for sticking to the rules tends to alienate him from the rest of the squad.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Leo can't bring himself to ask the dispatch girl out on a date. He resorts to notecards.
  • Chain of Deals: Casey gets into one in "One Man Band."
  • Cheated Death, Died Anyway: A woman who claims to be psychic believes she is going to die on a bus, and confesses that much to Leo - who himself is afraid of dying at age 42 because all his male relatives died at 42 (and he's 42 now), so he always wears a bullet proof vest. She keeps getting on buses she somehow knows are going to be hijacked by a man with a grenade. Leo followes her onto one of the buses. When the hijacker drops the grenade, Leo falls on it. But it was a fake, afnd obviously didn't explode. The psychic is confused, but Leo thinks he's found a way to Screw Destiny. He even gives up his bulletproof vest. Until later that night, he gets a call: there was a bus accident and the psychic had been killed in it. Cue Leo buckling up his vest again.
  • Cowboy Cop: Most of the 2nd Precinct. They have their own rules and codes, and can play rather fast and loose with the law on occasion. Walsh likes to give other cops the benefit of the doubt when accused (or even guilty) of crimes, while Delahoy plays fast and loose with his own life.
  • Da Chief: Sergeant Brown
  • Deadpan Snarker: The whole cast, but Casey has them all beat.
  • Death Seeker: Delahoy
  • Defective Detective: Almost everyone on the squad is defective in some minor way, but Banks and Delahoy take the cake.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: "The Circle Line," which involves Walsh basically committing obstruction of justice to help out another cop, who may or may not have killed someone. Why is Walsh doing this, you may ask, and not one of the cops from this guy's own squad? Because he has "too many write-ups" already. (Translated from police-speak: he's been accused of corruption, dereliction, or brutality so often none of them want to cover for him anymore.) And the only one on the entire squad who really has a problem with helping this guy out is Alvarez, which is just taken as yet more evidence that he's "not a team player."
  • Dirty Cop:
    • Cole, it seems like. He's blackmailed into helping an old partner in crime on the threat of his previous deeds being exposed. He also arranged the murder of Walsh's old partner and planted evidence in the killer's house.
    • Kowalski, Walsh's old partner, puts Cole to shame, having an array of blackmail material, drug habits, and other bad hobbies.
  • Dirty Coward: Averted with Banks, despite his paranoia. He only shows panic and utter cowardice when about to face a suspected cop killer, and when a robber almost shoots him while eating dinner. He still works as a detective, and when someone's life is on the line, he'll risk his.
  • Dirty Harriet: Casey, in the beginning of the pilot. But she gets promoted.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: Casey jokes that she became a cop because she always liked donuts.
  • The Exotic Detective: All of the main cast, to a degree. Just read their mini bios at the top of the page.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: Cole does this to a hitman in the pilot.
  • Godiva Hair: The "naturalist" widow of a vic.
  • Henpecked Husband: Alvarez
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Banks and Delahoy.
  • Holier Than Thou: Cole, who despite being a devout Christian, is also entangled in some very bad business
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: The bartender who turns out to be the perp in episode 6 offers a very impressive one of these in reference to breasts. Casey then gives him one in response later referring to testicles.
    Casey: Hefties?
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Alvarez might be a rule-stickler into self-promotion, but he does care about doing the right thing, and his whole motive is trying to be worthy of his wife, who he adores.
  • Justified Criminal: The woman who tried to poison her husband in "One Man Band" because he severely beat her.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: How the crooks get the money out of the precinct in "The Dentist."
  • Lost Wedding Ring: When Beaumont borrowed her boyfriend's watch, only for it to be stolen by the criminal of the episode.
  • Magical Realism: Delahoy gets messages from fortune cookies that help him close cases. In the pilot, he is the beneficiary of an apparent miracle. Then there's the whole of "42."
  • Manly Facial Hair: The 'stache belonging to Delahoy, and Alvarez as well, according to him. Lampshaded in "The Circle Line" when they define their 'staches as "pre-beard Serpico" and "the Albert Einstein" respectively. Alvarez considers this a badge of honor, later sternly telling a would-be perp that he "[doesn't] deserve to wear the mustache."
  • Naughty Birdwatching: One of the few things in Banks' apartment that isn't an absurd safety measure is a telescope. Delahoy jokes that Banks uses it to watch a girl across the street do yoga, something that Leo's offended by. Later, he does go to see the girl do yoga...and stumbles upon a crime.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The show was advertised as a quirky, surreal farcical show. It was more like MASH, being a show that took the job part seriously, but laced it with witty dialogue.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In "One Man Band", our heroes are told about a shop that has instructions and supplies about how to murder people. They decide to run it themselves, as a sting operation. Then a woman comes in and steals poison while the detectives are distracted. If she uses it, the NYPD may be on the hook as assisting a murder.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Casey Shraeger
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Banks gets attacked from behind by a kidnapper/murderer. The show cuts to Delahoy frantically trying to get through Banks' absurd amount of locks. By the time the door opens, Leo, bruised and exhausted, stands over the subdued attacker.
  • Outlaw Couple: The episode "Crime Slut" had an interesting example. The titular slut really wanted to get married that evening, as it was her father's last wish before going to prison. So she held up a series of pawn shops and bridal stores with the man to be. Only, the potential husbands kept getting caught, so she kept finding another one to meet her at the altar.
  • "Rear Window" Witness: "The Dentist."
  • Rebellious Princess: Casey, well Rebellious Socialite at the very least.
  • Running Gag: Banks and Delahoy keep getting intimate with love interests in supply closets.
  • Shirtless Scene: Walsh gets a couple. Delahoy gets one while getting his brain tumor scanned.
  • 6 Is 9: In episode 9, the cops find out that the perpetrator of the case they're investigating lives in apartment #6. They go to the apartment, and find the wrong person entirely. Naturally, the apartment they knocked on was actually #9, and the nail had fallen out of the top of the sign.
  • Short Runner: Only 10 episodes.
  • Starter Villain: Leon Wu, a juvenile drug dealer-turned-Cop Killer out of a misplaced sense of revenge. He's killed by the end of the first episode.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: The series of interviewees (almost none of whom appear to speak English) that Banks and Delahoy have to interview following the bus robberies in "42".
  • Third-Person Person: Alvarez
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Again, Banks and Delahoy.
  • Who Murdered the Asshole: In the pilot, the late Detective Kowalski is revealed to have been a Corrupt Cop, an adulterer, a blackmailer and an all-around Jerkass for the purpose of making everyone a suspect. However, his widow is shown to love him and genuinely mourn him.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Seen in the episode, "42." A woman who claimed to be psychic believed she was going to die on a bus, and confessed that much to Leo. She kept getting on buses she somehow knew were going to be hijacked by a man with a grenade. Leo followed her onto one of the buses. When the hijacker dropped the grenade, Leo fell on it. But it was a fake, and obviously didn't explode. The psychic was confused, but Leo thought he'd found a way to Screw Destiny. He even gave up his bulletproof vest. Until later that night, he got a call there was a bus accident and the psychic had been killed in it. Cue Leo buckling up his vest again.