Follow TV Tropes


Series / 13 Reasons Why

Go To
"The truth will out, like someone said once. It remains."
"Hey, it's Hannah. Hannah Baker. That's right. Don't adjust your... whatever device you're hearing this on. It's me, live and in stereo. No return engagements, no encore, and this time, absolutely no requests. Get a snack, settle in, because I'm about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended."

Thirteen Reasons Why is a Netflix original series adaptation of the novel of the same name by Jay Asher. After reading the book, Selena Gomez started talks in attempt to adapt the story into a film. After being stuck in Development Hell for seven years, the series was released on March 31, 2017 to generally positive reviews.

One day, Clay Jensen receives a package in the mail containing 7 cassette tapes. Upon playing the first tape, Clay hears the voice of Hannah Baker, the girl who killed herself just weeks before. The tapes are, technically, her lengthy suicide note. 13 reasons why she killed herself. 13 people who led her there. And Clay is one of them. Clay listens to the tapes one by one, slowly realizing what's been going on at his school... and what people will do to keep him quiet, sometimes to cruel and dark extremes.


On May 7, 2017, Netflix confirmed the series was renewed for a second season, which was released on May 18, 2018. The second season was received negatively, with many criticizing the need for another 13 episodes.

On June 6, 2018, Netflix confirmed a third season, containing 13 more episodes, which was released on August 23, 2019. Langford has departed the series.

A fourth and final season, this time of only 10 episodes, was confirmed on August 1, 2019, having commenced filming on July 23, 2019.

Has a recap page that needs more love.

    open/close all folders 


13 Reasons Why contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: In season 2, Tyler and Cyrus intended to mess with Ryan by creating a fake Grindr account and exchanging pictures. This was to lead to Ryan's pictures getting leaked to the entire school. Why this was dropped is unknown, and the final product shows that Ryan may have figured it out based on Tyler and Cyrus watching him from the other side of Monet's. This is never revisited.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Invoked by Jessica and Hannah, where getting each other's names wrong was playful banter that helped them bond.
  • Activist Fundamentalist Antics: In season 3, there's a group of female activists that have risen at Liberty High, led by Jessica then by Cassie.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • This isn't the first time that Dylan Minnette has had an ill-fated romance with a girl called Hannah. And yes, the Hannah from that film WAS technically dead.
    • Hannah's parents mention briefly that she had a thing for show tunes. Brian D'Arcy James, who played her father, is an accomplished stage and musical theatre actor, and originated the role of King George in Hamilton off-Broadway.
    • Speaking of off-Broadway, it's not the first time D'Arcy James played a grieving father, coping with the loss of his child. He also played a dad struggling to keep his family together after suffering the loss of a child in Next to Normal.
    • Mr. Porter mentions offhandedly a comment about high school football. Derek Luke, who played Mr. Porter, played a high school football player in Friday Night Lights.
    • Hannah imitates an Australian accent when quoting the film Strictly Ballroom — a nod to her actress Katherine Langford being Australian.
    • Justin Prentice plays Bryce, a high school rapist. Certainly not the first time. Although, the only difference is that Bryce isn’t in Hell. At least, not at first.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Jessica asks if her father doesn't approve of her hanging out with Nina's friends because they're black. He responds "have you looked at me lately?" — and the two immediately burst out laughing.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Although their sexual orientations were never stated in the book, in the series, Tony, Courtney and Ryan are all gay.
  • Adaptation Deviation: The context of the beginning of Hannah's Urban Legend Love Life changes in the series. Instead of the reputation being developed as a result of Justin bragging about Hannah's romantic life like in the book, it is instead developed as a result of a up-skirt photo of Hannah completely out of context sent around the school.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The first season of the Netflix series adds an entirely new half of the story, as rather than listen to all the tapes in one night, Clay drags it out as he confronts the other subjects and gets their own take on the tapes, which physically expands the story from taking place all in one night to taking place over the course of two to three weeks. And then there's the second season, which is largely comprised of material not found in the book and resolved many of the loose ends that were present at the end of the first season, which were Tyler's planned school shooting of Liberty High, the Baker's lawsuit against the school, where Clay, Tony, Skye and Brad are going, Alex's status, Justin's whereabouts, the revelation of Hannah's tapes to the school, Jessica's rebuilding, and whether or not Bryce will finally see justice after his confession is leaked. Season 3 expands further with a murder mystery.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Jenny Kurtz in the book becomes Sheri Holland in the series.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • In the book, Hannah wakes up when the crash into the stop sign happens. In the series, she partially causes it by distracting Sheri, making the latter more sympathetic. Sheri is also shown to be deeply conflicted by it and ultimately reports it to the police.
    • Justin is softened slightly in the series. In the book, he and Hannah dated for a while and then he abruptly broke up with her, breaking her heart. He doesn't do this in the series, and they never end up actually getting together. His abusive home life is also shown in great detail, and he's very much a pawn of the jocks he hangs around with. He also tries harder to resist Bryce's attempts to get into the room with Jessica, while in the book, even Bryce himself is surprised by how quickly he got Justin to comply.
    • We only really get Hannah's perspective on her parents in the book, and they're never shown outright. Hannah does mention offhandedly that her mother was shallow and that her parents are generally out-of-touch with her and didn't notice her. In the series, we see her parents as kind and devoted, albeit distracted by their financial issues and running with their business. Both her mother and father, in their own ways, fight as hard as they can to ensure that Hannah's suicide is not covered up and that some justice comes from it. They're not perfect, but the show depicts Parents as People quite well.
  • Adaptational Karma: In the book, Bryce gets away with his rapes of Jessica and Hannah; at the end of the first season it is implied that Bryce will face charges since Clay recorded him making a confession for Hannah's rape. This is then subverted in Season 2. Nothing happens to Bryce at the beginning of the season, because of no hard evidence, despite the taped confession. And by the end of the of the season, when Jessica finally builds the courage to go to the police about Bryce raping her, he gets arrested. But is given a judge trial, and is only sentenced to three months probation. Finally played straight when he's murdered by an unknown party in Season 3.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Book!Courtney spreads a rumor that Hannah keeps sex toys in her dresser, and later chooses to walk away and leave Hannah and Bryce alone in a hot tub despite the latter's lecherous and overall questionable behavior. In the series, she claims Hannah's actually a lesbian and confirms that Tyler's photo is of her just to save her own skin, albeit with sympathetic motives. She also continues to defend Bryce and claim Hannah is lying long after her death — to the degree that the rest of the culprits are disgusted with her. Overall she is far more manipulative than the book character who Hannah described as "someone everyone likes." She gets much better come Season 2.
    • It's also unknown whether Tyler actually is the peeping tom in the book. Hannah just assumes it's him because he owns camera equipment and he acts nervous when she asks him where he was on the night in question. She never gets actual evidence. The series confirms that he was the culprit.
    • In the book, Mr Porter's only real mistake is not reaching out more to Hannah when she comes to see him. In the show, he grills her about her rape at Bryce's hands.
  • Adult Fear: Present in the book, but the series takes it up a notch. In the book, you only really see the actions and reactions of Clay, Tony and one or two of the people on the tapes. In the series, Hannah's parents have an ongoing subplot of them dealing with their daughter's death while they deal with the lawsuit they've brought against the school. Clay's parents have to deal with their son constantly disappearing and lying to them without giving them any reason to believe that he's alright, constantly worried that he may follow suit. Alex's father eventually will have to deal with his son's attempted (thankfully unsuccessful) suicide. And Tyler's parents... let's just say they have no idea what's coming.
  • Adults Are Useless: Played With. Like in the book, Mr. Porter completely fails to help Hannah in any meaningful way. However, Clay's parents legitimately try to keep Clay from following suit in his grief. Hannah's parents are shown to be preoccupied while Hannah's alive, but do what they can to make her life better and insulate her from their troubles, and after her death, they do what they can to try and prevent other kids from getting lost to a school that can't (or won't) help them. In the first season finale, after Clay takes him to task, Mr. Porter is shown listening to Hannah's tapes when Principal Bolan walks in to announce that Alex had attempted suicide and is in critical condition, which possibly leads him to do the right thing.
  • Aesop Amnesia:
    • Clay learns all throughout season one that he shouldn't have slut-shamed and judged Hannah, and he learned that a photograph (both the one of Hannah on the slide and the one of her and Courtney kissing) doesn't tell the whole story. In season two, he is judgmental of girls that ended up in the clubhouse, such as Nina and Hannah, assuming that because they're smiling in the photograph they wanted to be there and it couldn't have been that bad.
    • Clay also learns in season 1 that retribution and revenge aren't the answer to tragedy, and that he should try to help people, not hurt them, but listening better and being compassionate. He also learns that he should open up to his parents more. In season 2, he leaks the tapes online because he's angry despite knowing they would hurt Jessica, he lashes out at Zach because he found out he dated Hannah, he pushes Jessica to testify about her assault despite her not being ready for it, and he acts like Justin's addiction is his own fault despite growing up surrounded by drugs.
  • Alone in a Crowd: Clay at the end of "Tape 1, Side A." He imagines that he sees Hannah in the empty hallway, but then it suddenly fills up with people. Despite this, it's clear he's lonelier than ever.
  • Alternative Calendar: The second season takes place in the spring of 2018. Early in the season, the calendar is correct (Friday, March 9). But in "Bye," a title screen reads "Saturday, April 20," which, in reality, was a Friday. This may simply be a case of Writers Cannot Do Math. This is cleared up in season 3.
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: Out of all the tape subjects, Ryan's and Sheri's are the only ones we never see.
  • Ambiguously Bi:
    • Hannah, despite her Single Woman Seeks Good Man tendencies, does not seem entirely unresponsive to Courtney's advances... at least until Tyler and his camera show up. And in season 2, this is even acknowledged during Courtney's testimony, with the litigator suggesting Hannah could have been gay or bisexual.
    • Jessica mentions having had erotic dreams about several of the Avengers, including Scarlett Johansson. Season 2 reveals that she and Hannah did kiss once playfully during a game of 'Never Have I Ever'.
  • An Aesop: Everything affects everything. When you mess with someone's life, you don't mess with just one part. Clay also seems to realise how hard we should try to help people we feel are in trouble, as he goes after Skye at the end.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: By Clay, to Hannah. In a dream sequence he has after he finishes his tape, where he fantasized that he didn't leave Hannah alone at Jessica's party.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • After Clay discovers the reason why he was on the tapes in the first place, he threatens to jump off a cliff, blaming himself for the events at Jessica's party since he left Hannah alone. He then pictures an alternate past where he never left Hannah, confessing his love for her. Imaginary Hannah's response is enough to absolutely shatter Clay.
      Hannah: Why didn't you say this to me when I was alive?
    • After Jessica begins to remember her rape by Bryce, she tries to push Justin into confirming that he witnessed it happening and that he has been lying to and gaslighting her about it. She does this by hanging around Bryce and even flirting with him. It works; Justin is worried about her safety around Bryce and the armour-piercing question comes when he drags her out of Bryce's poolhouse and she screams at him:
      Jessica: [about her hanging around with Bryce] Why do you fucking care?!
      Justin: Because he fucking raped you!
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Jessica and Hannah's argument in the second episode of the first season is ended when Jessica responds to Hannah's "fuck you" with a slap to the face.
  • Armoured Closet Gay:
    • Courtney Crimsen. Despite having two gay dads (or because of it), she refuses to come out of the closet, going as far as to backstab Hannah to protect her secret. By the end, she's Forced Out of the Closet due to Hannah's tape.
    • In season 3, Montgomery de la Cruz is revealed to be this. At a Hillcrest party, he met a Hillcrest student whom he kissed and received oral from. When confronted about it later, Monty beats the shit out of the kid and Bryce pays the kid off to keep his mouth shut. In the final episodes, although he receives the blame for Bryce's death, Monty was, in fact, with the Hillcrest kid after the Homecoming game.
  • Artifact Title: In season 2, the show was already not expressly about the reasons Hannah committed suicide, and in season 3, Hannah is not even a character on the show anymore.
  • Artistic License: The teens are shown with tattoos, even though most states forbid anyone under 18 to have one. The states Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana and Kansas have the age at 16 — but the show is set in California. Presumably they're fake or the characters with them are transfers from the above-mentioned states. Some of the tattoos are, in fact, those of the actor and some are fake.
  • Aspect Ratio: Played with in Season 3, in that all Pre-Bryce Murder scenes are shot in full screen, with brighter more vivid colors, while Post-Murder are shot in wide screen, with muted color tones. If one pays attention, you can see the letter box expand and decrease in between scenes.
  • Ass Shove: In the season 2 finale "Bye," Tyler is attacked in a washroom by Monty and after getting beaten, Monty brutally rapes Tyler with a broken mop handle.
  • The Atoner:
    • Downplayed. After he makes his Hot-Or-Not list, Alex attempts to make it up to Jessica, and after Hannah dies, he initially tries to cover up his role in her death, but soon has no problem admitting that he, along with everyone, messed up and wants to confess his role. His guilt and his need to atone and make up for what he did to Hannah and Jessica is what drives him to attempt suicide at the end of the first season.
    • Sheri starts a friendship with the old man injured in the crash which killed Jeff, and his wife, as a way of atoning for her guilt in causing it. Clay doesn't buy that it really redeems her, though. She later atones for real by confessing to the police, which leads to her spending some time in juvenile hall.
    • Mr. Porter in Season 2. In his first scene, he puts Bryce on notice, and seems to be taking his work a lot more seriously.
    • Justin towards Jessica in Season 2.
    • Bryce towards everyone in season 3.
  • Author Appeal: Someone behind the scenes really likes late 70s/early 80s Punk and Goth Rock. Clay has The Cure posters in his room, and Alex has Joy Division posters in his. Clay and Tony listen to "Love Will Tear Us Apart" in the first episode, Jessica and Justin dress up for a party as Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen, and Tyler hangs out with a group of punks in season 2.
  • Axes at School: Tyler brings guns to the Spring Fling dance in the second season finale, with the apparent plan of carrying out a school shooting.
  • Back for the Finale: Kat, Hannah's first friend in town who moved away in the first episode, is hit with a subpoena for the Bakers' lawsuit.
  • Bath Suicide: Hannah's method of suicide.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me:
    • When Tyler prepares a list (of sorts) for potential targets on the people who hurt him, he decides not to harm Alex for defending him from bullies.
    • Clay, and his reason for being on Hannah's tapes. Hannah points out Clay was one of the nicest and kindest guys she's met, and even the most honest of being himself, and he wasn't involved in her death, as he did what he was told, which was to leave her alone, which she blames herself for. Clay doesn't take it well.
  • "Before" and "After" Pictures: Tyler took a series of these over the course of (at least) seven months to show the state of the physical harm he endured from Montgomery's attack (spring) to the winter, also showcasing his gradual increase in mood and confidence.
  • Better as Friends: Alex and Jessica = good and healthy friendship/bad and toxic romance.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Season 1: Hannah's parents get the tapes from Tony, and therefore, closure on why Hannah committed suicide, and justice will most likely be served; Sheri comes forward with her role in Jeff Atkins' death; Jessica finally finds courage to share with her father what happened to her; Bryce may finally face justice for his actions; and Clay takes a step towards moving on, beginning with reconnecting with Skye, who has shown numerous warning signs of harming herself. However, Justin is now homeless, his mother's on-and-off drug dealer boyfriend having forced him out of his home, and Jessica wants nothing to do with him; Courtney is outed in front of her dads and, along with Marcus and Zach, is forced to come clean with what she did and will have to deal with the repercussions, Tyler prepares to shoot up the school as retribution for his bullying with Clay being one of his targets, Alex attempts suicide and is left in critical condition and Clay will be scarred by the whole ordeal forever and will probably never forget Hannah in the long run despite moving on. Also, Hannah and Jeff are still dead.
    • Season 2: Somehow even more bitter: the Bakers' suit fails and Liberty is not punished at all for its enabling of a toxic school culture, Bryce is only sentenced to three months' probation for raping Jessica, Justin is still addicted to heroin, Chloe is pregnant with Bryce's child, Porter loses his job, and Monty leads a group of athletes in brutally beating and raping Tyler, undoing any improvements in his mental health and leading him to nearly shoot up the school dance in revenge. That said, Clay and Tony do succeed in preventing Tyler from carrying out that attack, and there are several clear bright spots of hope for the future. Hannah receives a proper memorial service, finally giving her loved ones closure; taking Bryce to court and forcing him to move schools gives Jessica some degree of peace; Justin will be adopted by the Jensens and have a chance to repair his relationship with Jessica; Zach and Scott defect from the toxic athletics environment; and Alex's health continues to improve. Most importantly, the core cast all seem to genuinely care for and support each other in a way they never had previously.
    • Season 3: Clay has been exonerated for killing Bryce Walker, Tyler works through his trauma and finally implicates that Monty was his rapist and is now accepted by his peers, Jessica and Justin are back together and Justin will get help from drugs and is on his way to being adopted by Clay's family, Tony's family are still deported but they welcome his boyfriend into his family. On the flip side, Bryce is still dead despite him working on being a better person and his family (especially his mother) is still mourning. Monty, while despicable, is framed for the murder of Bryce and is killed in his jail cell leaving Winston heartbroken who will likely strike back. Alex gets away with killing Bryce, and his father knows but although he lies to protect him, he will probably look at him differently for the rest of his life. And Tyler's weapons that he planned on shooting up the Spring Fling dance are found by a group of fishermen.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: In the book, Hannah died from overdosing on pills. In the adaptation, she slits her wrists and bleeds out in the bathtub.
  • Bowdlerise: Netflix removed Hannah's graphic suicide scene two years after initial release. Said alteration almost immediately carried over to digital downloads and the first season DVD set.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • Clay. Hannah and Jeff's deaths were damaging enough, but then he gets hold of the tapes...
    • Hannah herself in the backstory, reaches to Kill the Cutie considering what happens to her.
    • Jessica, while being a Jerkass to Hannah and acting like she was at fault for her own death, pretty much is revealed to have been suffering this for a long time when we learn Justin let her get raped by Bryce.
    • Olivia Baker, who shows complete Sanity Slippage and heartbreak over her daughter's death.
    • Alex, who is wrecked with guilt for his role in hurting Hannah and who ends up in critical condition after attempting suicide.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Kind of. At the end of "Tape 4, Side A," Clay looks squarely at the camera and says "Welcome to Liberty High." Contextually, it is clear who he's talking to, but the scene is staged pretty perfectly to be an ad for the series.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: In an interesting variation on the trope, Katherine Langford, who plays the American Hannah Baker with a good accent, uses her natural Australian for a brief second in an episode to imitate an actress from a film the two main characters saw at the theater they worked at.
  • Broken Aesop:
    • Despite many of the ten who came before Clay realizing that whether they meant to hurt Hannah or not, that they were at least partially responsible for her suicide, they still mistreat Tyler and try to push him out of the group, solely based on their opinion that he's creepy. From the chest full of guns and ammunition, it seems likely that the gang made the same mistake twice.
    • Even more so, Season 3 ends with two directly contradictory Aesopseveryone deserves sympathy if they die, including monstrous rapist Big Bad Bryce, but it's also good to pin murder on an already-dead rapist.
    • Everybody deserves sympathy, even Bryce, because everyone can be good sometimes. This might be a Family-Unfriendly Aesop, except that moments before his death, they contradict this Rousseau Was Right type conclusion by having Bryce resort to being the same old loathsome person he always was.
  • Broken Pedestal: In season 2, Clay finds out from the different testimonies during trial that Hannah was not the sweet and innocent girl he believed her to be. Examples included: her taking a picture of her breasts (presumed to be to sent to someone) one night, which Tyler reveals. Most of the exotic poems she wrote and shared with Ryan were about Justin. To the biggest shocker for Clay, her having a secret sexual relationship with Zach all during the prior summer, which is how she lost her virginity.
  • Burn Baby Burn: Nina burns the Polaroids of girls in the "clubhouse."
  • But Not Too Black: Played for Drama in Season 2. Jessica — who has a white mother — straightens her hair before she appears in court and feels uncomfortable when people comment on it. Because she compares herself to Hannah for being the 'ideal victim' because she was white, this is presumably out of a desire to look more Anglo for the jury. She later argues that her father doesn't like her new group of friends because they're black.
  • California: The show is set in a fictional Northern California town, revealed in season 2 as "Evergreen County." The series is filmed in an array of cities in the area, Vallejo being the most prominent.
  • Camp Gay: Ryan has the stereotypical lisp, attitude and fashion sense.
  • Camp Straight: Alex, who is notably more feminine in appearance and demeanor than most of the other characters, fits in better with his female friends than male ones, drinks 'girly' over-elaborate coffees from Monet's and is in jazz band. However, he's clearly attracted to women and in love with Jessica, which causes no end of trouble.
  • The Cheerleader: Both Jessica and Sheri are cheerleaders, but both are the first to make a Heel–Face Turn and both are treated sympathetically.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A literal example. The handgun that Officer Standall was cleaning is presumably the same gun that Alex used in his attempted suicide.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • Season 1 ends with Justin left homeless, Bryce realizing he's about to get his crimes outed, Sheri having just turned herself in, Alex in critical condition after shooting himself, and Tyler seemingly preparing to shoot up the school.
    • Season 2 ends with Clay and Tony narrowly avert catastrophe by talking down Tyler from shooting into a school dance at the last second. Tony drives Tyler away from the scene, leaving Clay holding Tyler's loaded assault rifle in his hands as police sirens approach him standing outside the packed auditorium.
    • Season 3 ends with a fisherman dredging out Tyler's guns that Tony and Clay hid in the river, and Winston threatening to reveal Ani's lies about Monty and Bryce.
  • Closet Geek: While Clay's nerdiness for sci-fi and fantasy is brought up and occasionally teased in season 1, his friendship with Ani in season 3 reveals much more, like getting into cosplay and he admits that he writes fanfiction.
  • Come to Gawk: Happens far too often at Liberty High with other nameless background students; notable mentions go to Clay's hallway meltdown, Marcus' car being vandalized ("The Second Polaroid"), the hallway brawl ("Bryce & Chlöe"), and Clay being escorted by Sheriff Standall into a police car ("Yeah, I'm the New Girl").
  • Content Warnings: In May 2017, Netflix added trigger warnings to the beginning of every episode warning about its content. When season 2 was released, specially created intros were produced featuring the actors warning audiences of the content.
  • Cry into Chest:
    • Justin into Jessica's in "Tape 2, Side A."
    • Clay into Tony's in "Tape 6, Side A."
    • Clay into several people in the Season 2 finale "Bye."
    • Tony into Caleb's throughout season 3.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Tyler and Cyrus spend the majority of season 2 plotting against the jocks for their cruel treatment.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms:
    • Played for Drama. Hannah mentions that everyone in school looked at the picture of her and Courtney kissing, and most of the boys "probably more than once." Cut to a flashback of Clay masturbating to the picture, which he is guilt-ridden over now he knows who's in it and the circumstances under which it was taken. It even plays into his Sanity Slippage in "Tape 4, Side A," as he imagines Tyler telling him "everyone knows you beat off to Hannah's picture."
    • Played for Drama again in Season 3. Jessica admits she and Alex are having "awful sex." Ani encourages Jessica to masturbate to reconnect with her body. Unfortunately for Alex, Jessica doing this reminds her how good sex was with Justin and she gets back with him.
  • Dead to Begin With: Hannah Baker and Jeff Atkins.
  • Demoted to Extra / Out of Focus: Several characters in season 2.
    • Courtney and Ryan are reduced mainly to background characters for all of Season 2 save for the episodes focused on their testimonies. They still appear in group settings later in the season, in which they act much more friendly and supportive towards Clay than they have previously, and even receive new romantic partners, indicating that they simply moved on from the central drama after giving their testimonies.
    • The same is true for Marcus, save for one later pivotal scene where he is blackmailed into publicly calling Bryce a rapist, resulting in his immediate suspension and absence for the rest of the season.
    • The Bakers separate some time between seasons; the focus remains on Olivia, with Andy entirely absent for several episodes.
  • Diabolus ex Machina:
    • There's absolutely no narrative reason given for Hannah to be at Bryce's party other than the plot needing her to be there. She simply wanders the town at night in a depressed daze and wanders into a random party at a Big Fancy House without knowing that she'd know anyone there.
    • Montgomery's murder at the end of Season 3. It mostly just helps out the characters by meaning that they don't frame a still-living rapist. It's implied to be an Even Evil Has Standards take on people in prison hating rapists, but still, it comes out of almost nowhere.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Alex becomes this in Season 3 in his relationship with Jessica. Despite being a nice guy and always there for her, Jessica can't move on from Justin despite what he done and goes back to him. He doesn't take this well.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male: The second season finale features a scene where Montgomery and other jocks sodomize Tyler with a broom handle, all because Tyler's actions caused their sports season to be cancelled. It's presented as horrific, degrading and pushes him over the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: In "Tape 2, Side A," Clay completely fails to grasp why Hannah has an issue with being on the school's "hot list"; she immediately lampshades it:
    Hannah: Once again, you and the point are complete strangers.
  • Driven to Suicide: Hannah, Alex, and very nearly Justin, Alex, and Clay.
  • Dying as Yourself: Although Hannah had a short haircut when she died, whenever she appears in Clay's hallucinations, her hair is at its original length. Possibly because the haircut was a symptom of her depression.
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • Bryce is easily forgiven for his terrible crimes by Ani in Season 3, and even Clay, though marginally less easily than Ani, thinks that it was wrong not to grieve Bryce at all.
    • Alex for the shooting. Yes, he has serious problems, but he still tried to commit mass murder at the school dance, but he still remains good friends with Clay and most of the main cast.
  • Eating Lunch Alone:
    • Hannah was often like this in the cafeteria, primarily due to her false reputation for promiscuity. She is shown eating alone after she falls out with Jessica and Alex. Clay too.
    • In season 2, we see a flashback of how Justin and Bryce first became friends, with third-grader Justin eating alone due to being the class outcast until Bryce comes to sit with him.
  • Enemy Mine: In "Tape 6, Side B," Marcus, Courtney, Tyler, Ryan, Zach and Alex have a meeting to discuss being summoned to the deposition. They each have various problems with each other prior to the meeting, including:
    • Courtney despises Tyler because Tyler took and circulated a photograph of her kissing Hannah.
    • Ryan has little respect for Courtney due to her being an Armored Closet Gay and spends a lot of the meeting insulting her.
    • Marcus (and probably the others) has thrown rocks at Tyler's window and bullied him in general.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Clay tricks Bryce into confessing that he raped Hannah, and records it onto the blank side of the last tape. He then gives it to Tony, who makes copies of it, one of which is given to Hannah's parents. Just like usually happens in reality, it isn't admitted as evidence.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The tape victims all made mistakes that hurt Hannah and ultimately led to her death, though there are some actions they can't stomach.
    • They're all pretty disgusted with Tyler, for his violating stalker behavior. Though for some of them, it's a little hypocritical considering their own predatory behavior.
    • Ryan, Zach and Alex are all horrified with Courtney for arguing that Hannah and Jessica weren't raped, and rushing to side with Bryce.
    • Justin tries, in vain, to prevent Hannah's upskirt photo from being circulated around school and prevent Bryce from raping Jessica.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: For Bryce's murder in season 3.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes:
    • Hannah's Lovable Alpha Bitch friend Kat is a blonde.
    • A second season introduction. The cheerleading captain and Bryce's girlfriend — Chlöe — is also a blonde.
  • Everytown, America: Although unidentified in the first season, the first lines of season 2 reveal that Evergreen County is the primary area and further addressed envelopes show that the primary location is the fictional unincorporated suburban areas of Evergreen County, California, which is a mashup/analogue of various northern San Francisco Bay Area counties (such as Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Solano Counties) and Northern Californian towns, location wise and visually. Vallejo, Sebastopol, Corte Madera, San Rafael, Oakland and Santa Rosa are all used as filming locations.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change:
    • Olivia has one of these. Before Hannah's death, she usually wears her hair long with no ties. After the latter's suicide, she always tied her hair up in a ponytail. By season 2, after finding out about the tapes, she has cut it short. After the Time Skip in the season 2 finale, it's grown a little longer.
    • Alex's blond hair has turned brown and grown out in season 2 following his suicide attempt, although this may just be due to him not continuing to bleach his hair.
    • Sheri is seen wearing her curly hair straight when she returns to school.
    • In the season 2 finale, both Tyler and Justin have buzzcuts since they've both spent time in juvenile detention facilities. From the transition between seasons 1 and 2, Justin's hair also grew longer and messier due to life on the streets.
  • Fall Guy: The ultimate result of Bryce's murder. Alex was the one who pushed a heavily injured Bryce into the river but Montgomery gets the credit for it but as he is killed in prison.
  • Fanservice:
    • "Two Girls Kissing" features a scene at cheerleading practice where all the girls are in short shorts and stretching — allowing their legs to be on display.
      • The same episode has the reverse — where Zach is helping Alex with his physical therapy in a pool — allowing both actors to be in swimsuits.
    • "Angry, Young and Man" has a locker room scene where Zach and Monty get into a fight while wearing nothing but towels.
    • As a matter of fact, there are multiple episodes throughout all three seasons where male characters are in various states of shirtless that can apply to this.
  • A Father to His Men: Coach Rick in season 2. It gets to the point where it seems that he's aware of what crimes his players have committed.
  • Faux Affably Evil:
    • Bryce is rich, a star athlete, popular with students and faculty, and he raped Jessica, his best friend's girlfriend, and Hannah without a single ounce of shame. In "Tape 6, Side B," Clay confronts him about the rapes, and Bryce beats him within an inch of his life to the point where he passes out. When Clay comes to, Bryce is pouring him a drink and smiling, carrying on conversation.
    • Marcus. He comes off as kind, pretty approachable and downright funny. He also uses these tactics to befriend those who have listened to the tapes, and won't hesitate to use his power on the school to rid you of exposing the truth.
  • Female Misogynist: The litigator on the Bakers' trial shows signs of this — outright suggesting that Hannah was responsible for her Slut-Shaming because she enjoyed the attention. During Jessica's testimony, she tries to paint Hannah as a jealous drama queen. How much is genuine feeling and how much is her dedication to winning the case no matter the cost is ambiguous.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Clay and Justin in season 2 — started by Clay hiding him in his house so he can testify in support of Jessica. By the end of the season, Justin protects him from Bryce and the Jensens decide to adopt him as a second son.
  • Fish out of Water: Mr. Porter is this, as he was a guidance counsellor at a school where "kids shot kids" before coming to Liberty High, which makes him really out of his league in the world of social media bullying, rumors, claims and other high school reputation topics.
  • Flashback: The narrative is built on this. Season 2 slightly less so than season 1. Season 3 has quite a lot of the switch between April 2018, the summer and the following fall semester.
  • Flashback Effects: Events during the present time (when Clay is listening to the tapes) are in drab and slightly colorless tones, but when it hits a flashback of Hannah, a shade of orange and/or more color appears over the scene. In season 3, the same color filter effects are used to differentiate between the present and flashbacks, and there is also a change in Aspect Ratio.
  • Foil:
    • Montgomery for Justin in season 2. Both come from abusive homes and mentored by Bryce because of it. Both have the chance to do the right thing. Justin chooses to redeem himself, while Monty doesn't.
    • Alex for Clay. Both are viewed as "sad skinny" and was best friends with Hannah at different times. They both very in love of a girl (Hannah for Clay and Jessica for Alex) who seems more (despite them) attracted by athletes.
    • Kat for Jessica. Both was Hannah's female best friend (at different times), more popular than her and dated with Justin.
    • Jeff for Zack. Both are tall Lovable Jock (even if it's more debatable with Zack in Season 1) who befriends with a skinny and troubled guy (Clay for Jeff and Alex for Zack especially in season 2).
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Mr. Porter ripping out and throwing away an entry from his daily log of students he met. It is later revealed he met with a despondent Hannah the day she committed suicide despite his claims they only met once to discuss colleges.
    • In an early "blink and you'll miss it" moment, Mr. Porter mentions "losing two students in the past month." We don't find out until "Tape 5, Side B" that the first student was Jeff, although there are subtle clues throughout that this is the case.
    • Alex, throughout the series, displays signs of suicidal tendencies such as wanting to be punished, picking up fights he can't win, letting himself fall at the pool, etc. In "Tape 6, Side B," he shoots himself.
    • Season 3 had two instances in its marketing to hint towards the identity of Bryce's murderer: Alex.
      • In the main trailer, after Justin tells Jessica that "someone we know could have done this," the trailer immediately cuts to Alex threatening Monty with a knife. It's like the trailer was trying to say to us, "this is the one...".
      • One can find a crucial clue in the character posters. Each person has their mouth obscured by torn newspaper, with a boldened Tag Line ("Who killed Bryce Walker?") and tidbits of information about each person about the murder, in Times New Roman font. Seven of the character posters can be singled out to leave three main suspects: Tyler, Alex and Ani, because these posters have at least one written clue in the same font as the Tag Line. Ani and Tyler can be ruled out from this list, because their words are not related to how they can be viewed as suspects in Bryce's murder ("Found dead" and "Loner" being the hidden words). Alex's, on the other hand, reads "Violent outbursts," telling us the exact reason why he ultimately did the deed.
  • For Want of a Nail: Many examples.
    • There's a good chance that most of the events could have been avoided if Hannah followed Kat's advice and decided to go after Zach rather than Justin.
      • In return, if Justin hadn't taken the photo of Hannah at the wrong time, the start of Hannah's reputation as the "class slut" wouldn't have begun.
    • For Zach, if he hadn't mentioned the hot list as a reason to date Hannah and had a better reaction when he was talking to her, the notes wouldn't have been stolen in vengeance.
    • Clay, when he was on the cliff with Tony, thinks that him leaving the party and Hannah alone was this trope, and if he hadn't left, Jessica wouldn't have been raped, Sheri wouldn't have knocked down the stop sign and Jeff wouldn't have died.
  • Foreign Exchange Student: In "Tape 4, Side A," Clay is pulled out of class to assist Courtney in showing some of these around Liberty. Unfortunately for them, they are subjected to a tour by an increasingly unstable Clay.
  • Frame-Up: Marcus eventually tries to undermine Clay by planting a bag of weed on him.
  • Freudian Excuse: Most of the jackass characters are given this:
    • Justin: Comes from a poor and abusive home due to his mother's drug addiction. Bryce was his only source of protection and affection from a young age, hence why he stayed silent after Bryce raped Jessica. The reveal in Season 3 that he was sexually abused as a child by his mother's boyfriend puts some of his actions in a new light.
    • Marcus: Is constantly pushed by his father to be the perfect representation of a young black man and not to be another racial stereotype.
    • Zach: Lost his father and is pushed by his mother into always worrying about appearances and how people view him, forcing him to bottle up his emotions and be friends with people that he detests, like Bryce.
    • Monty: Is beaten by his father and is thus convinced that baseball is the only way out of his painful home life.
    • Even Bryce is given one: His wealthy parents constantly leaving him alone at home to go on business trips and vacations left him feeling abandoned and unloved to the point he no longer cares about anything or anyone.
  • Funny Background Event: Happens pretty often for such a serious show.
    • The winter formal ("Tape 3, Side A") has an extra dabbing. note 
    • During "The Night We Met" in "Bye," a production assistant can briefly be seen moving extras.
    • In "Yeah, I'm the New Girl," someone can be seen asleep in the library scene when Jessica approaches Zach.
    • In "Nobody's Clean," when Alex deposits the pouch of steroids and Justin retrieves them, an extra is seen having a very animated breakdown.
  • Gangsta Style:
    • Mocked when Bryce is trying out one of Jess's guns:
      Jess: Only actors in Hollywood hold it that way.
    • In "The Second Polaroid," Cyrus at first holds a gun this way before Tyler corrects him the first time they go shooting together.
  • Gaslighting: Justin does this to Jessica to make sure she never finds out that she was raped by Bryce.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Seems to be the belief held throughout the school — a picture of Courtney and Hannah acting rather wild after getting drunk ends up going viral.
  • Going Cold Turkey: In season 2, after spending months on the streets, Justin has developed a heroin addiction. Clay forces him to stop using to get him ready for trial, and his withdrawal symptoms are shown in some detail. Like most addicts who attempt to do this in just a few days without professional help, he fails to get clean and simply gets better at hiding it.
  • Good Parents: We see a lot of this on season two, with a healthy mix of Parents as People.
    • The Jensens don't always agree and Lainie in particular can be a tad smothering, but they're incredibly supportive of Clay and, eventually, Justin too.
    • Jessica's parents show up for her in every way in season 2. They give her time and space to heal and, for the most part, let her take the lead in her own recovery. The scene where her dad tucks her into her own bed and watches her as she falls asleep is particularly heartwarming (and heartwrenching at the same time).
    • Cyrus and Mackenzie's father has an open relationship with his children, engages in their interests (such as indulging in a Harry Potter marathon with Cyrus), encourages his kids to be individuals and keeps a close eye on their mental health.
    • Tyler's parents try their hardest to connect with their son and give him support every step of the way. Too bad it doesn't work.
    • Alex's father does a Heel–Face Turn in season 2, from a strict authoritarian who makes Alex call him "sir" to a grateful and involved dad who regularly tells his son he loves him and always encourages his recovery. His mom has My Beloved Smother tendencies about his health, but it's Played for Laughs.
  • Hallucinations: As part of his Heroic BSoD and Sanity Slippage, Clay begins to see Hannah everywhere, even though she is dead. After a few days, Clay even starts imagining himself and others doing and saying things indiscernible from reality. By season 2, Clay has reached the point of talking to the image of Hannah as if she's physically there.
  • Happily Adopted: As of season three the process has yet to be completed but Lainie and Matt Jensen are adopting Justin (and specifically tell him that even if something were to hinder the legal process he is still a part of their family now) and it's very, very obvious how much it means to him to be part of their family.
  • Has Two Mommies: Courtney is the child of two gay dads. Interestingly, this is one of the reasons she's Armoured Closet Gay — having endured homophobia her whole life, and not wanting to put them through any more of it.
  • Hearing Voices: A variation, In "Tape 4, Side A," Clay begins to hear voices that blame him for Hannah's death and his involvement in it, but in real life, what Clay thought he heard was something completely different, such as Clay thinking Tony stated that the former will get what he deserved while he actually said that if he needed help, he should find Tony.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Sheri, in "Tape 6, Side B," decides to turn herself in to the cops for running over the stop sign, which caused Jeff's death.
    • Subtly with Zach, who already feels intense regret over Hannah's death and his involvement (which was ripping up her note in anger), and decides to spill the beans on what he did and confirm the stories of Hannah's bullying during his deposition. It's complete by the end of season 2, when he quits baseball and denounces Bryce.
    • Slowly but surely with Justin, who recognizes the deep harm he let happen to Hannah and Jessica and, after initially running from it, dedicates his life to bringing Bryce to justice, even spending a month in prison and six months' probation in order to testify against him.
    • Courtney and Ryan, in season 2, both of them admitting their actions against Hannah prior to her death and defending her from the school lawyer's attempts to present Hannah in a bad light during the trial.
  • Heroic BSoD: Clay goes through one of these, and it is not pretty. Let's just say that he begins to see Hannah everywhere, even though she is dead and buried...
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • Justin and Bryce. Justin all but lives at Bryce's house whenever he can't stay at his own (which is often). Proves to be a Deconstructed Trope as it's this Undying Loyalty that leads Justin to cover up the fact that Bryce raped Justin's own girlfriend.
    • By the end of season 2, Zach and Alex have become this.
    • Tyler and Cyrus in season 2, until Tyler lashes out at his sister and reveals the lengths he is willing to go to get back at Liberty High.
  • High-School Sweethearts: Hannah says that her parents were this.
  • Hollywood Law:
    • The tapes themselves are treated as a trump card for the Baker's lawsuit at the end of season 1. In reality, while they'd give the Bakers some additional evidence for their lawsuit, they would make it (and any future criminal cases for those involved) extremely messy from a legal standpoint. They are evidence of a crime withheld for several weeks and passed through the hands of a dozen different people, many of whom gave conflicting testimony in their depositions. If they are admitted as evidence, the tapes (as well as the circumstances surrounding the tapes and the conflicting depositions) provide plenty of opportunity for the school's lawyers to attack their credibility and induce plenty of reasonable doubt. And that's not even mentioning Bryce's engineered recorded confession which, depending on the judge and legal precedent, may not even be admissible. Reality Ensues in season 2, as neither is admitted as evidence resulting in the Bakers losing the trial.
    • There is some drama around Jeff's death in a car accident regarding whether or not he was drunk. In reality, his blood would have been tested to determine his level of intoxication at the time of the death. The police (and his family) would know exactly how intoxicated he was. In the show, this is simply glossed over with the smashed case of beer apparently being taken as evidence enough that he was drunk.
    • The secret recording Clay makes of Bryce confessing to rape would absolutely not work out how Clay thinks it would. California is a two party consent state, which requires all parties to a conversation to consent to being recorded when in a place there is a "reasonable expectation" they aren't being recorded, and being in Bryce's home definitely counts. That tape would not only not be admissible in court, but would actually lead to Clay getting charged with a crime.
      • Not to mention Bryce barely confessed to rape in that recording. Clay had to prompt it out of him, physically fight him and argue with him, which resulted in the "confession" of "if you want to call it rape, call it rape." It's vindicating for Clay and for the viewer (and, as Clay's lawyer mother said, it's a tough case to prosecute, but even if they can't be prosecuted, the truth should still come out), but it's certainly not evidence.
    • Season 2's Baker lawsuit trial offers plenty of opportunities for the losing side to get a mistrial declared. From witnesses who have not yet testified sneaking in to observe the trial, to Clay's releasing the tapes online which are digitally watermarked as coming from his mom's firm, to Tyler and Cyrus' blackmailing of Marcus and Zach, to Montgomery's witness tampering, any competent lawyer would have had the ammunition to, at the very least, push for a mistrial.
  • Hope Spot:
    • In the first season finale, "Tape 7, Side A": Hannah says that she did start to feel more free after making the twelfth tape, as if something had been released. But then after an unproductive meeting with Mr. Porter, things collapse entirely.
    • In the second season finale, "Bye":
      • Tyler returns from his month in a diversionary program seemingly a new man with a much healthier world outlook, and he appears to deal with disappointing but gentle rejection from Mackenzie and Cyrus pretty well. Then he is brutally beaten, half-drowned and sexually assaulted with a broom handle by Montgomery and a group of baseball players who blame him for ruining their season, which destroys any progress he's made and pushes him off the deep end.
      • Life seems to have finally improved for many of the students on Hannah's tapes by the time they attend the spring dance, with various people who once despised each other now close and supportive friends, laughing and joyfully dancing together. Even Bryce has been reduced to an ineffective, if smug, presence. Then Jessica learns that Chloe is pregnant with Bryce's child. And then Mackenzie learns via text that Tyler is planning to attack the school.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Hannah, big time, particularly on Zach's tape. After devoting a whole tape to Marcus humiliating her in public, she pretty much does the same to him (though not to the same extent of course) and she proceeds to make assumptions about him just like she hates the jocks doing about hernote . Even so, it comes off as pretty crass considering Zach was genuinely trying to be nice to her. Also, having suffered from false accusations and other rumors throughout school, Hannah proceeds to let Clay believe he did something serious enough to be a reason for her suicide. Turns out that Clay really didn't do anything at all. Hannah held him on a proverbial rack for a prolonged period of time, purely because it was dramatically convenient for how she delivered her story.
    • In Season 3, Jessica. She goes on a campaign to take on the jocks at Liberty, who she claimed gets unfair privileges and protections by the school, which led to the rape culture against girls in the first place. She is given a lot of support and runs for school president and wins. However, she is bored with Alex, because she isn't having fun sexually, so she gets breaks up with him and gets back with Justin, her football jock ex who was an accessory to her rape by Bryce. Many people call her out for his, and even Jessica admits she looks like a hypocrite.
  • I Have No Son!: Montgomery's father visits him in prison following Monty's arrest for sexually assaulting Tyler. What seems more important to Mr. de la Cruz is that his son assaulted a boy, leading him to ask Monty if he's gay. When Monty replies with "What if I am?," his father spits on him and leaves.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode's name in the first season is simply titled "Tape (number), Side A/B," with Side A going to the odd-numbered episodes in the season and Side B going to the even-numbered ones. This is not the case in Season 2.
    • The trope comes back into play in Season 3, with the title of each episode being a line of dialogue spoken by Ani in the episode.
  • Idiot Ball: In "The Box of Polaroids," Clay is in possession of a box with Polaroids. Those Polaroids are invaluable with regard to the charges against Bryce, while Clay also knows that there people threatening him. Clay keeps the box simply on the backseat of his car in plain sight, after which they are stolen. And he didn't even make (digital) copies. The other characters call him out for how idiotic this was.
  • Important Haircut:
    • Hannah cuts her hair short during the summer before junior year as a hope of starting anew. It ultimately doesn't work, but it does seem to mark the point where Hannah's reasons cross from mild to outright criminal.
    • Offscreen example. Alex had previously grown his hair out to hide the scar from his suicide attempt. After the Time Skip in "Bye," he has cut it back to its original length.
  • Intimate Open Shirt: At Hannah's party, she tries to get Clay to wear his shirt like this. He refuses, not wanting to be Mistaken for Gay, which was a rumor started about him in freshman year.
  • Irony: One of the main reasons Hannah was bullied was because of the lies the popular boys told on her about having sex with them. Season 2 reveals that Hannah did have sex with one of the popular boys, Zach, who kept it a secret out of friendship and respect for Hannah until he was forced to admit it during the trial.
  • It's Not You, It's Me: Hannah says this in her message to Clay, telling him that he is a thoroughly Nice Guy, and that he is not the reason why she told him to leave her alone on that fateful evening. It wasn't anything he did at all, it was rather that she felt she didn't deserve him and feared that she would end up "ruining" him if the relationship went further.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: Sheri has notably become much colder and more cynical in season 2 as a result of her time in juvie.
  • Jerk Jock: All but one (arguably two if you count Zach and now three counting Charlie) of the school's jocks are total jerks. Jessica openly talks about how the jocks at their school are considered on a totally different level than everyone else, Kat also states that the school only recognizes the jocks as students of value and considers every other student to be a sideshow, and even the jocks themselves mention multiple times that they are playing by different rules (whether in dating, sports, classes, partying, popularity or even immoral actions) because of their athletic ability. Bryce especially takes the cake, as he not only bullies others, but he's also a serial rapist who has no remorse for forcing himself on Jessica (after browbeating Justin into letting him do so) and Hannah.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Ryan, who despite being arrogant and pretentious (and publishing Alex's Hot List), comes across as a good friend to Hannah who encourages her to express her feelings through poetry... and then publishes said poetry in his magazine behind her back and against her will.
  • Jizzed in My Pants: Happens to Tyler on a date with Mackenzie. She makes the mistake of telling someone, who then tells everyone else — and Tyler is harassed about it at school.
  • Kangaroo Court: The Liberty High Honor Council is run like one, at least during the hearing for Alex and Monty's fight. Headed by Marcus, Monty is blamed entirely for the fight in order to shift attention from Alex, who is on the tapes. Alex spends a lot of the hearing snarking and generally treating the Council with contempt because he's aware of what Marcus is doing.
  • Karma Houdini: Bryce does get convicted in season 2, but is only sentenced to three months probation. Not true for Justin, who testified against Bryce knowing it could lead to his arrest as an accessory. He cannot afford bail and has no legal guardian, so spends a month in juvenile detention and gets six months' probation for his role in Jessica's rape.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Hannah's, and later Alex's, primary reasons for committing suicide is this. The classmates she associates with are horrendously cruel, including one being a serial rapist.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • After everything they've done to cover up their actions and bully Clay into keeping quiet, Courtney, Marcus and Zach's pristine reputations are implied to be tarnished as the things they did to Hannah are unearthed in the deposition.
    • Jessica breaks up with Justin for good after she finds out that he lied to her about how he allowed Bryce to rape her and told her that Hannah was lying about having seen it all occur.
    • Ryan's school magazine, Lost & Found, that he's worked hard on and is the main focal point for his college applications, is shut down after it's discovered that he published the "anonymous" poem that he stole from Hannah, which could get the school into even more trouble during the lawsuit, as it detailed Hannah's depression and proved that the school was aware that she needed help.
    • Bryce is implied to be finally receiving the harsh end of justice as Justin, Jessica, Zach and Marcus abandon him, his other friends are aware of what he did to Jessica due to Justin's outburst, and soon Hannah's parents will know about what he did to Hannah, thanks to Clay secretly recording him and Tony giving a digital copy of the tapes, including Bryce's confession, over to the Bakers
    • Deconstructed for Tyler, as he does feel remorse for what he did to Hannah, but everyone has no problem treating him terribly.
    • Subverted for Sheri and Alex, as they both repent by coming clean about their actions. In Alex's case is exaggerated as his guilt causes him to attempt suicide.
    • Season 2 reveals a tragic case of this with Hannah Baker. At her old high school, she was part of a Girl Posse of Alpha Bitches who bullied a girl so badly, she was forced to drop out of school. Hannah herself became a victim of bullying, realizing how wrong she was for what she did.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The narration on the first tape is played over the opening to the first episode and goes, "Hey, it's Hannah. Hannah Baker. That's right. Don't adjust your... whatever device you're hearing this on. It's me, live and in stereo." In universe, it comes across as a reference to the characters listening to the tapes on various devices, including a boombox, a Walkman and a car stereo. For viewers, it can also come across as a reference to it being a Netflix show which people may watch on various devices besides their televisions.
  • Letting Her Hair Down:
    • After Skye opts to move away to get a fresh start, she's seen with her hair down for the first time.
    • Nina usually wears hers up but has it down in the season 2 finale after getting some closure.
  • Like Goes with Like:
    • Clay (white) kisses Sheri (black) but becomes involved with Skye (white) instead.
      • Subverted in season 3 when Clay gets with an English Kenyan girl named Ani.
    • Hannah (white) had a fling with Zach (Asian) but was the main love interest of Clay (white).
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch:
    • Kat, who moved away before Hannah started school, was said to be a good friend to her, as well as a popular girl.
    • Subverted with Courtney, who appears to be this, but is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
    • Chlöe in season 2 seems to be trying to be a good person despite her stance as Bryce's girlfriend and cheerleading captain.
  • Lovable Jock:
    • Jeff. He's a nice guy and is one of the only jocks in the school who doesn't abuse his status.
    • Zach appears to be on his way to becoming this by the end of the first season. Season 2 reveals that he and Hannah actually had a summer fling.
    • Charlie seems to be one of the typical jocks, hanging around mostly with Monty but comes to realize who he's spending time with and defects to the main group.
  • Manly Tears:
    • Clay tries to hold it in for most of the series, but is prone to quite a lot of crying towards the end. In "Tape 6, Side A," he cries into Tony's arms.
    • Tony himself lets a few loose when he's around Brad.
    • Justin cries more than the other jocks, usually after a situation involving his abusive home life. When Bryce throws him out of the room as he prepares to rape Jessica, Justin is sobbing in distress.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Marcus, ho man Marcus. Who pretty much controls the entire school's High Honor Council to his very whim and even uses his power to get Clay suspended due to suspicion of weed, which he places on him. On the other hand, this leads to Clay getting more time to finishing the tapes.
    • Arguably Hannah, as she comments a few times that her tapes will have consequences and wreck those who have wronged her. Keep in mind she was in full Broken Bird mode when she made the tapes.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Jeff died a couple of weeks before Hannah, yet nobody seems to even remember him until he's mentioned in "Tape 5, Side B." All the spotlight is on Hannah's death. Of course, Jeff's death is built up to be a big reveal/twist in the series, which is why we don't see a lot of mourning or the effects on others.
  • Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher: Mrs. Antilly, the guidance counselor before Mr. Porter, who introduces Hannah and Jessica to each other. Interestingly, she's a lot better at her job than her replacement, who by comparison initially seems a Cool Teacher.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Jessica is shown with a black father and a white mother. Her actress Alisha Boe is the same.
  • Must Not Die a Virgin: A very disturbing example. Not long before killing herself, Hannah, now severely depressed, gets in a hot tub with a known rapist. She is fully aware how this will play out.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Downplayed. When the picture of Hannah gets sent around to the whole class, Justin can be seen looking very guilty at Hannah's reaction.
    • It's subtle but after the argument that ends in a slap in "Tape 1, Side B," Jessica can be seen with an expression on her face that says she immediately regrets it.
    • Alex's reaction after what he did to Jessica and finding out what it did to Hannah.
    • Clay's reaction after finishing his tape, even though Hannah points out he did nothing wrong to harm her except do what she said, which was to leave her alone. Doesn't stop him from hitting the BSOD.
    • Reconstructed in Sheri's case as she becomes close friends with the old man who was hurt in Jeff's accident and his wife as a way to repent for indirectly causing the accident in the first place. Clay doesn't buy it, though. Seeing it as halfhearted, he constantly asks why she won't come clean to the old couple or even Jeff's parents.
    • Kat ends up feeling this way about giving her blessing for Hannah to date Justin.
    • Charlie comes to this realization when Bryce exposes what Monty did to Tyler.
  • Mythology Gag: Before Clay gets the tapes, Tony offers him a ride and asks him if he wants to listen to a tape. When he, Tony, Skye and Brad are riding off into the horizon at the end of "Tape 7, Side A," he asks Clay this again, with Clay passing this time. In the book, this is what Tony does to each person in the tapes to see if they've listened to them yet.
  • Naughty Under the Table: In "Two Girls Kissing," Sky gropes Clay under the table while they are having dinner with his family.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: The present day scenes (where Clay is hearing the tapes and trying to find out what happened) is set in late October/early November 2017, and it is implied that Hannah killed herself in late September/early October. The second season finale confirms that it was early to mid-October.
  • Nice Guy:
    • Clay may have his flaws (like lash out in anger and fail in social situations), but he's still a good-hearted person who wants to do the right thing when possible.
    • Tony, Clay's best friend, is an all-around decent individual who doesn't bully or belittle others.
    • Jeff is most likely the sole jock at Liberty High who is a Lovable Jock.
    • Kat is also a Nice Girl.
    • When he's not around his Jerkass friends, Zach has shown sides of this. Same goes for Charlie.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
    • Marcus's plan of suspending Clay only leads to him finishing the tapes, get the recorded confession from Bryce admitting to raping Hannah and Jessica and pass the tapes to Mr. Porter, who, as a teacher, is legally obligated to release the tapes to the public, thus sealing the fates of arguably the ones who wronged Hannah.
    • Everyone's treatment of Tyler is what leads to him blurting out the existence of the tapes at his deposition, therefore allowing the tapes to be known and released to the public. And also, everyone bullying Tyler will lead to him arguably shooting up Liberty High in season 2.
  • Not So Different: Used word for word by Tyler to Clay, regarding Hannah and their respective feelings toward her.
  • N-Word Privileges:
    • Discussed by Hannah and Ryan in "Tape 4, Side B."
      Hannah: You know what it's like to be humiliated?
      Ryan: I'm a skinny faggot who writes poems. I mean please.
      Hannah: Um, I don't think we're supposed to use that word.
      Ryan: Well, You're not. I'm allowed.
    • Also invoked by Chad, one of the punk kids, in season 2.
      Cyrus: Yeah, that Ryan's a fuckin' tool.
      Chad: Worst kind of gay.
      Tyler: I mean, I didn't... mean that because he's gay—
      Chad: Well, I did. He's fucking shallow, and pretentious, and he fucking dresses gay every day. (sigh) Classic homo.
      Cyrus: Chad's also gay, FYI. Hence, he can say shit the rest of us can't.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Happens rather frequently (and clearly) with Liberty High students.
    • In "The Second Polaroid," a student passes Scott and Clay and, when the camera focuses on Scott, the same student is seen entering the building.
    • In "Bye," a production assistant can be seen moving extras during "The Night We Met."
  • Oh, Crap!: A quite delicious one from Bryce when Justin makes it clear that he believes Hannah about the rapes, and he starts to realize that the whole jig may be coming down for him.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Some scenes are revisited multiple times from different viewpoints to establish what happened.
    • The most notable example is Jessica being raped. We see it the first time from the viewpoint of Hannah, who witnessed it from the closet. However, she has a limited view and was distressed at the moment. However, later we also see it from the eyes of Justin and Jessica, making it clear that it was a rape and that Justin tried but ultimately failed to prevent it.
    • Done again in season 2: After Bryce takes the stand and lies about having sex with Hannah and a conversation they had where Hannah talks about how fragile life is, using her jumping off a bridge as an example. The scene is later revisited, showing that it was Bryce who talked about life and death, and while Bryce did take Hannah to the shack and took her picture, nothing between them happened. It's implied that this, and Hannah's interest in Justin, is what began the bullying against her.
  • The Oner: In "The Third Polaroid," this is used to show the various main characters' reactions after Clay leaks the tapes online.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: There are a few moments in which Katherine Langford reveals her Australian accent.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: The Bakers.
  • Panty Shot: One accidentally taken of Hannah is the first of the thirteen reasons, after the jerk who took it gets the bright idea to show it to his buddies. Everyone should know by now what a bad idea that is.
  • Parental Neglect: Justin's mother neglects him and allows her off-again-on-again boyfriend to physically abuse him, and eventually kick him out of their house.
  • Parents as People: The show is full of some great examples.
    • Olivia and Andy Baker love each other and their daughter. They also struggle financially, can't see eye to eye on numerous issues and, despite caring for Hannah, fail to notice signs of her mystery. Season 2 reveals that Andy had an affair, and that Hannah knew, and although he confessed to Olivia, their relationship was obviously shaken and this carried over into their grieving process.
    • Lainie and Matt Jensen are reasonable, have varying levels of strictness (Matt is generally more trusting) and often disagree on how to deal with their son's dramatic shifts in mood. Lainie wants what's best for Clay, but that sometimes comes into conflict with her career. In season 2, the Jensens' various disagreements on how to handle Clay's behavior leads to Lainie temporarily moving out, although it was just for a few days to cool off. They also agree to legally adopt Justin to help him get on track with his life.
    • The Davis's are strict but caring to Jessica as she recovers from her trauma. Her father wants nothing but to protect her, even if he becomes overbearing at times. They also occasionally and inadvertently make Jessica feel uncomfortable about her identity as a biracial woman, albeit from different angles.
    • The Downs are positively ill-prepared for how to deal with Tyler, but they never stop trying. His mother and father clearly love him and want the best for him, and present him numerous opportunities to be open with them. Unfortunately, Tyler prefers to keep his emotions bottled up, not seek most of the help offered to him and ultimately resort to violence.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Oh boy. Mr. Porter falls into this hook, bait, line, and sinker in his talk with Hannah. First, he asks a fuck-ton of questions that would be impossible for a rape victim to answernote , makes a lot of fallacious assumptions in regards to Hannah's actionsnote  and then he tells Hannah to just move on from being raped by Bryce if she can't give him the rapist's name, or tell him what had happened, apparently using the reason. Mr. Porter's poor communication skills to Hannah results in her losing all hope in things getting better for her, and she kills herself just a few hours later.
    • Hannah herself. Her death could have been prevented if she had communicated with people as well as she did on the tapes.
  • Power Trio: Clay, Justin and Jessica fit the trope. After the focus shifts away from Hannah, they are the most focused characters. In Season 2 and 3, Clay is The Hero, Justin is The Lancer and Jessica is The Chick. The finales of seasons 2 and 3 end with them on the last scene.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • Clay cracks his forehead open in the "Tape 1, Side A," allowing viewers to easily tell when he's appearing in the present or a flashback.
    • Season 3 utilizes differences in Aspect Ratio to differentiate between the timelines, with the present using a widescreen format and the past in fullscreen.
  • Precision F-Strike: Ryan's infamous "Fuck off, Courtney!" line.
  • Product Placement: The show never misses an opportunity to remind you that Clay's headphones are a pair of Beats by Dre.
    • A pair of Sony headphones are frequently visible on one commonly present extra's head.
  • Promoted to Love Interest:
    • Jenny's TV counterpart Sheri becomes a love interest of sorts to Clay.
    • Likewise, Clay and Skye are just friends in the book, but become a couple in season 2. Subverted as they split up and Skye opts to move away.
  • Put on a Bus: Jackie, the anti-bullying advocate who befriends and supports Olivia prior to the trial, moves in with Olivia, occasionally irking her with her overbearing nature. Cut to late in the season when she abruptly moves out, leaving Olivia with a note (which we never get to read) and her departure is never explained. It is possible that her leaving was motivated by the revelation that Hannah too was a bully, harassing a girl at her first school.
    • This happens to several characters in season 3:
      • Courtney makes a couple brief appearances but ultimately disappears, but Ryan and Marcus receive no mention at all. But this can easily be explained as to all of them being seniors in season 2 and having graduated. It's noted by Mr Porter in Season 2 that Sheri might have to attend summer school after her time in juvenile detention, but she too is never mentioned.
      • Coach Rick; there is no indication as to his departure and there's already a new coach in place.
      • Nina and Scott vanished without a trace sometime over the summer. Neither are seen at all during the flashbacks to the spring.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: The cause of Clay's angry monologue in the hallway.
  • Rape Discretion Shot: Unfortunately, this is averted, as Jessica, Hannah and Tyler's rape scenes are shown quite graphically. Netflix goes as far as to add trigger warnings before said episodes, however.
  • Race Lift: A lot of characters of ambiguous race in the book become minorities in the series. Mr. Porter, Sheri and Marcus (who becomes black), Jessica (who becomes mixed race), Tony (who becomes Hispanic) and Courtney (who becomes Asian) are some notable examples.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Despite the fact that they all had some role in Hannah's death, the group can agree that Bryce is worse than all of them for raping Hannah and raping Jessica while her boyfriend was outside the door, cowering in fear.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • In the book, we never see the full fallout from the tapes. Thanks to Adaptation Expansion, we see that because Hannah killed herself, named the people she deemed responsible, and made them all listen to exactly why she thought they led to her death, two of the people named nearly attempt suicide, one does attempt suicide and is left in critical condition, and one is stocking up to shoot up the school.
    • The fallout from the revelation of Hannah's tapes also backs the school into a very tight corner, as their star athlete Bryce confesses to being a rapist and their staff noticed many signs that Hannah needed help but did next to nothing to help her, often ignoring or downplaying the signs.
    • Bryce only gets three months probation after being convicted of Jessica's rape. His wealth, expensive lawyer and star athlete status ensure him a lenient sentence. This contrasts to Justin who doesn't have that safety net and gets sentenced to more time than Bryce, despite being an accessory to Bryce's felony.
    • During season 2, Mr. Porter's willingness to atone for letting Hannah Baker down, makes him an enemy of the school who wants to forget what happened and save their reputation. After he testifies during the trial and admits with tears in his eyes that he should have not let Hannah walk of his office, because he suspected she might be suicidal, the school board votes to fire him and make him the fall guy for Hannah's death.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Sonya spends most of the trial in season 2 trying to paint Hannah as a lying slut. Seems like Hollywood Law but it's actually Truth in Television. Rape trials in particular often involve a lot of Slut-Shaming towards the victim — one case saw an Irish rapist being found not guilty because the victim was wearing a thong. This is in order to present Hannah as a "bad character" to the jury, so that they'll be less inclined to believe the tapes.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Several happen throughout the first season.
    • Probably the most famous is in "Tape 6, Side B," where Alex gives this to Zach, Courtney, Marcus, Tyler and Sheri (though she wasn't present) when they try to attempt to get out of being partially responsible for Hannah's suicide.
      Alex: Wanna know what's worse than being a rapist? Hiding behind one. Fucking justifying a fucking rapist, that's worse. You want to get the story straight? We all know the story. Everything Hannah said on the tapes are true. (to Courtney) You're gay, so what? Tyler, you're a stalker. Ryan, you're an arrogant asshole. Zach, you're just an entitled idiot who does cruel, stupid things even though you probably have a decent heart. And Sheri's a fucking coward who got a kid killed.
      Marcus: Alex, that's enough.
      Alex: No, Marcus. You'll do anything to keep your perfect reputation. And, yeah, I'm a fucking weak, pathetic loser who ruined the one good thing I ever had because I wanted a rapist [Bryce] to think I was just like him.
    • Clay gives one to the entire school as well in "Tape 4, Side A":
      Clay: Everyone is just so nice, until they drive you to kill yourself!
    • In "Tape 5, Side B," following Jeff's death, Clay somewhat accurately calls Hannah out on this, even if it ended up being misguided in the moment. It's also got a touch of Jerk Ass Has A Point, since Clay was being a bit of a jerkass at the time, but he was correct that Hannah still came off as trying to make Jeff's death about herself. It comes off as especially dramatic considering the last time Hannah spoke to Clay was when she screamed at him to get out of the room after making out.
    • Played With for Kat's respective testimony in "Tape 7, Side A." Kat calls out the toxic culture within the student body of Liberty High being responsible for contributing to the events that led to Hannah's demise. She specifically calls out Principal Bolan, the teachers and the social subculture surrounding the school's jocks.
      Kat: Look, the jocks walk the hall like they own the place. The teachers feed into it. Bolan feeds into it. It's just... it's how it is. You try going to school with a bunch of neanderthals who are told that they are the only thing of value at school, and that the rest of us are merely there to cheer them on and provide them with whatever support they need.
  • Replacement Scrappy: In-Universe. Hannah considers Mr. Porter to be this to Mrs. Antilly as the guidance counselor.
  • The Reveal:
    • As the first season went on, we learned about the reasons why Hannah ended her life, being:
      • 1. Justin, whose photo was sent to the school and led to her being called a slut.
      • 2. Jessica, who abandoned Hannah in her time of need due to rumors of her 'flirting' with Alex.
      • 3. Alex, who put Hannah's name on a 'hot list', which led to the aforementioned scene with Jessica.
      • 4. Tyler, who stalked Hannah and ruined her friendship with Courtney over a photo that showed Courtney was gay.
      • 5. Courtney, who tried to save face over being gay by spreading a rumor about Hannah being gay.
      • 6. Marcus, who tricked Hannah to a date only to try to see if the 'slut' rumors were true.
      • 7. Zach, who, upon being rejected by Hannah, sabotaged her motivation notes and disregarded a letter she gave him.
      • 8. Ryan, who published Hannah's suicidal poem without her permission, leading to further harassment.
      • 9. Justin again (and Hannah herself), who let Jessica get raped by Bryce.
      • 10. Sheri, whose complete disregard of destroying a stop sign lead to Jeff's death.
      • 11. Clay, who actually did nothing wrong and was one of the better people who treated her well, but was included in the list due to, as Hannah says, being "part of the story." He still blames himself, as he felt he could have done something.
      • 12. Bryce, who raped Hannah.
      • 13. Mr. Porter, who told Hannah that if she wasn't going to tell him about Bryce raping her, she should just ignore everything.
    • We also experience a number during season 2, with many of these details being kept in the dark until close to the end of the season.
      • Hannah chose Tony to deliver the tapes because she kept a secret for him that could keep him out of jail -– that he brutally beat a man for uttering homophobic slurs at him and Ryan.
      • Zach dated Hannah for a short period the summer between sophomore and junior year. Although things ended abruptly and sadly, it was a healthy and happy relationship and he was clearly heartbroken afterward.
      • Alex (and Monty) heard Bryce raping Hannah during the party, although they did not realize it was Hannah (or that it was non-consensual) until the tapes. That guilt was part of what drove Alex to attempt suicide.
      • Hannah and Bryce had a short-lived friendship at the beginning of sophomore year, although he explicitly wanted it to be something more.
      • Hannah and Justin continued corresponding after their initial falling out.
      • Sheri's confession resulted in her spending several months in juvenile detention.
      • Hannah herself was also a bully, a part of a group who harassed a girl at her first high school for many of the same reasons she came to be bullied. So much that the victim had to transfer. She appears to regret it, though.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • Starts happening to Clay as he listens more and more. He starts ranting at foreign exchange students regarding Hannah's suicide, sees her everywhere, starts having terrible nightmares about her death, also starts imagining scenarios in certain moments, and these nightmares and scenarios start spilling over into his waking hours.
    • Also Jessica, as she starts to remember her rape, but everyone, including her boyfriend, keeps gaslighting her about it. She becomes incredibly reckless and abuses drugs and alcohol constantly. She also improves, once she tells her father about the rape.
    • Olivia has her moments, most notably when she encounters another mother and her young daughter while at dinner with her husband, and cheerfully starts talking about Hannah without ever letting on that Hannah is dead. It's hard to blame her, though.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Tony's boyfriends (Brad in season 1 and Caleb in season 2) only exist to be love interests to Tony.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Clay, at the end of the season, decides to break Hannah's second rule about her tapesnote  and rather than passing the box of tapes onto number 12 (which was Bryce), Clay instead decides to pass the box straight onto number 13 (which was Mr. Porter), since he knows that Mr. Porter, as his job as a teacher obligates so, has to report the existence of the tapes to the authorities and Bryce would've definitely destroy the tapes to keep himself innocent. He also adds another tape, which contains Bryce's confession of being a serial rapist. Likewise, Tony passes on audio files of the tapes, and Bryce's confession, to the Bakers.
  • Sequel Hook: Quite a few in the "Bye":
    • Chloe being pregnant.
    • Jessica basically cheating on Alex with Justin.
    • When Clay and Justin are talking after agreeing on Justin being adopted, we see Seth staring to them from his car.
    • Tyler being driven away from the Spring Fling by Tony, knowing that he was assaulted and raped by Montgomery and his friends and could still follow up on that.
    • And of course Clay holding the assault rifle he took from Tyler while the police are on their way.
  • In the season 3 finale:
    • Tyler's guns have been found in the river where Clay and Tony hid them.
    • Winston reveals to Ani that he knows she lied about Monty killing Bryce.
  • Serial Rapist: Bryce.Jessica and Hannah are the only named victims, but it's stated there have been others. In season 2 it's revealed that he also raped Chloe, while she was unconscious in the 'Clubhouse'. In season 3, he records a "confession" on tape for Jess, and states that he raped "seven or eight" other girls.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Jeff, during his flashback tutoring sessions with Clay, would actively encourage Clay to speak with Hannah.
    • Both Kat and Justin voiced their support for Zach/Hannah.
  • The Shrink:
    • Mr. Porter is a Type 1, as he's not actually a real therapist. He ends up as the final reason for Hannah's suicide due to victim blaming her for being raped.
      • He possibly borders more on Type 2, given that he does mean well, but doesn't know how to deal with the school's culture more "white" culture where students damage each other with bullying and social media abuse, rather than at his previous stint in an inner-city school, in which "kids shot kids" and his more detached approach allowed him to fare better. He fully shows how well-intentioned, if ineffectual and misguided, he is when he abandons any attempt to conform to the school's culture in season 2 and cracks down hard on the jocks (especially Bryce, whom he shoves into a wall during a private conversation) that create and promote its toxic atmosphere.
    • Mrs. Antilly appears to be a Type 2 — see Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher above — but turns out to be a Type 3. Jessica and Hannah lampshade their utter surprise that her silly idea to get them to be friends actually worked.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In Season 3, we discover a young geeky girl with few secrets hidden to her mother who is the omniscient narrator during this season and stunningly also a Love Interest to Clay. It's not Hannah but Ani.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: The young men that Hannah initially liked were men she thought were nice. She later has a love epiphany in regards to Clay because of her admiration of how honest he is with himself.
  • Slut-Shaming: Just about everyone to Hannah. Also happens to Jessica in season 2, as her rape by Bryce has been turned into a story about how she cheated on Justin and then lied about it. She is harassed about it at school; someone puts up pictures of her calling her a "drunk slut."
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Kat, who only appeared twice in "Tape 1, Side A," was the one who introduced Hannah to Justin and later tells her she had no problem with the two dating. From that moment, Hannah's life was changed forever. She reappears in "Tape 7, Side A" when asked regarding her last talk with Hannah.
  • Space Whale Aesop:
    • In Season 3, it's wrong not to feel sad that a serial rapist Bryce) has died because he was capable of being a partially sympathetic person sometimes.
    • Season 3: it's okay to murder a rapist, providing you can pin it on another rapist...but only if he's already dead. If he's still alive, this is wrong.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Ani, who is first introduced in season three yet in that season becomes the new main character, appearing in what seems like 80% of all the scenes. She is also the one who saves the day at the end of the season by concocting a story to frame Monty for Bryce's murder. Oh, and she's the new narrator as well.
  • Student Council President:
    • Marcus (who's one hell of a manipulative tyrant).
    • In season 3, Jessica campaigns for the position and wins, promising to start Liberty High on a path away from its toxicity.
  • Take That!: At the start of season 2, the school board's latest obviously boneheaded move is to completely ban discussion of suicide, in what feels very much like a jab at the people who accused the show of glamorizing suicide simply by bringing it up at all.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: Hannah wants Mr. Porter to do this to her, although it is ambiguous whether she set him up to fail. He fails hard.
  • Teens Are Monsters: While all the teenagers in the show have issues and/or Fatal Flaws, some of them stand out for being total Hate Sinks such as Bryce Walker, his comrades and Montgomery de la Cruz.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Chloe reveals she's pregnant with Bryce's baby in "Bye."
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: In "Tape 6, Side A," and since the ending of "Tape 5, Side B," the dialogue keeps trying to pretend Clay "killed" Hannah, with even he saying it, when it's pretty obvious he... didn't.
  • Their First Time:
    • Subverted in "Tape 6, Side A." Clay is about to lose his virginity to Hannah, but the trauma of all her other experiences causes her to drive him away.
    • Clay tries again at the start of season 2 with Skye. It is subverted again; this time, it is he who is too traumatized to go through with it.
    • Finally played straight in season 2, when it is revealed that Hannah and Zach lost their virginity to each other in a summer fling. It appears to have been such a positive experience that, despite including Zach on her tapes for not recognizing her loneliness, she never directly referenced it for others to hear.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. Barely. Despite references to Mr. Porter not being a real therapist, like in the book, after Hannah's suicide, Clay's parents discuss sending Clay to go talk to his old therapist. He refuses, and though it's brought up again after that, nothing ever comes of it. In season 2, Cyrus says that he sees a therapist.
  • Time Skip: Each season represents a school semester. The first season is fall 2017. Season 2's present day picks up five months after (March 2018) the end of season 1 (November 2017/Freeze-Frame Bonus to the deposition tapes showing the date of November 2017); "Bye" takes place a month after "The Box of Polaroids." Season 3's present is the following fall semester (September/October 2018) with Flashbacks to April. Season 4 opens in spring 2019, as the main cast prepares for graduation.
  • Title Drop: In "Tape 7, Side A," when Clay gives the tapes to Mr. Porter and explains what's on them.
    • Every third season episode title is a line dropped at some point, usually by Ani.
  • Token Evil Teammate: While the people who led Hannah to commit suicide aren't saints and have done and/or said some pretty messed up things, and have tried to escape blame from their partial responsibility, Bryce takes this position as he raped Hannah (and before her, Jessica) and shows no remorse over his heinous actions.
  • Token Good Teammate: Scott Reed, one of only two jocks on the baseball team who doesn't actively condone the actions of his teammates, and wants to distance himself from their reputation as rapists (or rape apologists). The other one is Zach. Neither are willing to publicly stand up at first, as Zach decides to work as a sort of double-agent, supplying Clay with proof of the team's activities. Scott also makes rape jokes in the beginning of the season, but as time goes on he feels more compelled to distance himself from their actions and eventually joins forces with Clay, Tony and the rest.
  • Token Minority Couple: Courtney surfaces with a black girlfriend in the season 2 finale.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Justin through and through. With a difficult home life and some Jerk Jock behavior, but Hannah and Jessica are still drawn to him. Clay lampshades this in "The Box of Polaroids," telling Imaginary!Hannah that girls always go for that sort of thing.
  • True Companions: Well despite all of arguments and dramas between them and this trope was downplayed at the end of Season 2 , the main cast (more prominently Clay, Justin, Jessica, Tony, Alex , Zack, and later Tyler) always there for each other. Lampshaded by Ani at Season 3 finale.
  • Two Decades Behind: Cassette tapes. Cassette tapes. There is a reason for this. Many of the reasons leading up to Hannah's suicide involve online sharing of content. The use of the tapes is to avoid this from happening with their contents.
  • Two Girls and a Guy: Hannah, Jessica and Alex, before their friendship falls apart.
  • Understatement: At his deposition, Marcus, due to his inability to admit his faults, can only state that he might have hurt Hannah's feelings at their so-called "date." You ''think'', mate?
  • The Unfair Sex:
    • Despite their close relationship, Hannah constantly chides Clay for the apparent faults she finds with his character — all delivered with a cheery smile. But heaven help Clay if he reciprocates, which usually leads to emotional histrionics or her storming off. For example: in "Tape 1, Side B," she asks Clay if he thinks that Hannah can be as pretty as Jessica. Clay is baffled by the question and, before he can formulate an answer, she already takes his silence as an insult. When he honestly says that Jessica is pretty, but Hannah is special, she takes it as 'retarded' and is insulted. Than she blames his lack of social skills, even though she is the one who asked a question where there is no right answer and jumped to the worst conclusion.
    • There's also the fact that the entire series is Hannah's mental torment of Clay, despite the fact that even she knew he did nothing wrong, because telling her story the way she wanted was more important than not destroying his mental health.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Kat moving away and having Hannah pursue Justin is the first of the thirteen reasons.
  • Urban Legend Love Life: Hannah has an infamous reputation as the "class slut," but seemingly remains a virgin up until a summer fling with Zach, ironically one of the only jocks who didn't claim Hannah was trying to sleep with him.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Played with during season 2. At the beginning of "The Box of Polaroids," a flashback is shown of eight-year-old Bryce befriending Justin, who wore the same clothes everyday, was foul smelling, and was teased and bullied by classmates because of it. However, it also showed that Bryce used fear and intimidation even back then.
  • Victorian Novel Disease: Alex has a rare present-day example that manifests as painful stomach cramps and requires daily medication.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot:
    • After being forced to chug a 40 oz malt liquor bottle by Justin, Zach and Bryce, Clay goes home drunk and spews all over the family dinner while being admonished by his parents.
    • Hannah vomits quite violently into the the waste basket after seeing Bryce raping Jessica. At Jessica's own party for that matter.
    • In season 2, Justin's withdrawal symptoms involve a lot of vomiting, and all on screen.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Any episode from 10 on can count, but "Tape 7, Side A" is infamous for containing Hannah's very graphic suicide (although it was later removed) among other things.
    • The season 2 finale, "Bye," likewise contains the graphic sexual assault of Tyler by Monty with a mop handle, it being the last straw for Tyler who enacts his plan to shoot up the school by the episode's end. It (both directly and indirectly) puts much of the "bitter" in the Bittersweet Ending mentioned above.
  • Wham Line:
    • There are quite a few of these, and most of them come from Tony. At the end of "Tape 1, Side A," Tony meets Clay at Eisenhower Park. They talk for a minute, and Tony goes to leave. Before that, though:
      Tony: Eisenhower Park? That must mean you're about ready for side two.
    • After Tony's been following Clay around for episodes, hounding him about his set of tapes, Clay gets frustrated and snaps at him, wondering how Tony fits into everything. He then states that there probably isn't even a second set of tapes like Hannah said. Tony gets into his car, turns on a cassette, and:
      Hannah: Hey, it's Hannah. Hannah Baker. That's right. Don't adjust your... whatever device you're hearing this on.
    • Also worth mentioning is the final scene before Clay's episode. Tony finds Clay sitting at the park from the first tape, and tells Clay that his tape is next. Clay asks him if Clay's the reason that Hannah killed herself. Tony tries to explain that he thinks everyone contributed to her death. Clay interrupts him and asks:
      Clay: Knowing what you know, and believing what you believe, did I kill Hannah Baker?
      Tony: Yes.
    • Not the line itself, but the circumstances of it: Tyler blurts out about the tapes during his deposition, ending any chance of them not going public.
  • Wham Shot:
    • A lower level of Tyler's photography case reveals a number of boxes of ammunition as well as a pistol, a rifle and a shotgun, heavily implying that he'll shoot up the school.
    • Later on, Tyler examining photos of people that he'll target in the shooting. He removes Alex for standing up to Montgomery for him but Clay is still on there.
    • Season 3's trailer has one major one at the end, establishing the new season arc. The second-last shot is of most of the main characters at a funeral, and the camera pans over to a picture near the coffin, identifying who the deceased person is. It's Bryce.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: A few characters disappear suddenly with maybe a short mention, but no follow-up:
    • Cyrus tells Tyler that Marcus is suspended, but it is not depicted onscreen, nor is he mentioned afterwards.
    • Jackie, who stayed at the Bakers', suddenly left after Tony's hearing and only left a goodbye note. The contents (and probably her motivation) are not shared with the viewer.
    • See Aborted Arc above.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Tony gives a few of these to Clay, including one for taking a sensitive photo of Tyler and spreading it around, arguing that through seeking justice for bullying with more bullying he only fed the vicious cycle instead of breaking it.
    • Sheri also gives one to Clay when he asks why the girls in the Polaroids got themselves into bad situations.
      Sheri: Clay, you don't know what was happening in this photo, and you don't know what happened after.
      Clay: But clearly no one's forcing her to be there.
      Sheri: Look, girls don't just "get themselves" into bad situations. Guys make the situations bad. You don't know what it feels like, to be a girl in that room.
    • In Season 3 Jessica gets this from a lot of people when she leaves Alex and goes back to Justin. Especially, given the reason she does it, because Alex isn't as good at sex as Justin is.
  • Whodunnit: The third season's central plot is the murder of Bryce Walker.
  • Who Murdered the Asshole?: A major plot in Season 3 is who killed Bryce. Considering he's more or less the Big Bad of the first two seasons and has managed to seriously harm and/or screw over the majority of the cast, that's a lot of potential suspects. Somewhat subverted in that Bryce spends a lot of season 3 attempting to atone for his actions in the previous two seasons.
  • Who's Laughing Now?:
    • It was heavily implied by the end of the first season that Tyler is planning a school shooting to get back at his bullies. Lo and behold, in the Season 2 finale, he was ready to carry it out before Clay and Tony stepped in and prevented it.
    • Hannah mentions at least once that she expects the tapes to have consequences and the last person supposed to listen to them was the school counselor anyway, pretty much guaranteeing it.
  • With Friends Like These...:
    • Justin and his posse were all relatively close, but as the season progresses, Justin was left with no one, understandable considering Reason #10 reveals he let Bryce rape Jessica.
    • Bryce as well, although he doesn't seem to care.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Tyler. Pretty much everything that happens to Tyler following Hannah's suicide drives him deeper down the path to a place of no return.
  • World of Snark: Nearly everyone is prone to some level of snark, but most notably Clay, Hannah, Alex, and Ani.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Hannah. Constantly. Unlike in a lot of stories like this, her problem isn't that she has a Friendless Background, but that nearly every damn friend she makes either turns out to be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing or an Innocently Insensitive idiot who inevitably screws her over or pushes her away.
  • You Have GOT To Be Kidding Me: Hannah gives this reaction when Mr. Porter says that the only option for Hannah is to move on from her rape.
    Hannah: Are you fucking kidding me!?

"We deserve some fucking happiness."

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: