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Series / Timecop

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The year: 2007. Time travel is a reality, and it's fallen into criminal hands. With history itself at risk, the United States has formed the Time Enforcement Commission, a top-secret agency responsible for policing the temporal stream.

Timecop is a 1997 TV series spun off from the Jean-Claude Van Damme action movie Timecop. Featuring an all new-cast, the series was unfortunately cut short after less than a season.

This series provides examples of:

  • Alternate-History Nazi Victory: Basis of episode "Rocket Science".
  • Artistic License – History: Dr. Easter tells the others Sir William Gull was Jack the Ripper, saying the evidence fits him best, and the show later confirms this. Gull is in fact disclaimed by most scholars for a number of reasons (perhaps foremost his being over 70 at the time, and weakened due to a stroke).
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: Ian Pascoe claims to have witnessed a Megalodon rip the throat out of a Tyrannosaurus rex. These animals lived over 47 million years apart, assuming he didn't somehow (?) bring them together.
  • Anvil on Head: In the "Stalker" episode, the villain kidnaps a Hollywood actress under the guise of a late stage shoot so he can drop a safe on her head.
  • Batman Gambit: "Public Enemy" reveals that Ian Pascoe wanted Jack to catch him in "Stalker" because it was the only way he could get to 2007 and reclaim his own time travel device.
  • Big Bad: Taking the lead in three episodes, Pascoe was shaping up to be this before the show ended.
  • Big "WHAT?!": When Matuzek learns what's going on in "D.O.A.":
    Jack: Dammit, Gene, someone is going to kill us tonight.
    Matuzek: WHAT?!
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: The true culprit in "D.O.A." wanted to kill Matuzek because he sent her boyfriend to prison and the guy eventually committed suicide. Matuzek does remember the guy's name when told, but he had no idea who the woman was despite her appearing at the guy's trial every day.
  • Cut Short: Reportedly, ABC had ordered thirteen episodes, but the plug was pulled after nine were produced.
  • Dirty Cop:
    • In "The Heist", an old-timer cop assists the protagonist on a visit to the 70s to catch a criminal before he can steal several precious diamonds. The thing is, in the original history, the diamonds went missing, and he was accused of stealing them (which ruined his career and life). So, he decides to use this opportunity to actually steal the diamonds.
    • In "Stalker", one of Hollywood actress Rita Lake's murderous stalkers turns out to be a cop.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Ian Pascoe claims to have traveled so far into the future that he knows how the world will end.
  • Evil Counterpart: Ian Pascoe to Jack Logan. Both are time travelers, just with different attitudes on history.
  • Eviler than Thou: Al Capone is quite intimidated by Ian Pascoe. Moments in the episode (such as a vicious off-screen death for a subordinate) really justify his fear.
  • Faking the Dead: Tommy Maddox from "The Future, Jack, the Future" appears to die on a mission to 1990, but he survives and opts to stay there so he can buy up some stock to get rich.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: In "Rocket Science", a German yuppie travels to the 40s and introduces enhancements to Nazi technology. Slightly justified in that he had already done all the research he needs in order to improve their tech. When Logan goes back (again) to stop him, he walks into his lab, where a German scientist is trying to figure out how to work the yuppie's laptop. The Nazi is obviously having trouble with a concept such as a portable computer. Logan simply smashes the laptop and leaves. Of course, he leaves all the pieces in the past, which means there should still be a potential for reverse-engineering it.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: A subdued version in "Public Enemy" when Ian Pascoe kidnaps Claire and takes her back to 1928 with him. He compels her to wear more provocative clothing than her uniform, but conservative by modern standards.
  • Godwin's Law of Time Travel: In "Rocket Science", Jack Logan has to stop a time traveler who's helping Hitler, complete with the hero going back in time to prevent the Nazi Future by stopping the Nazis from getting the atomic bomb.
  • Good-Looking Privates: In "Rocket Science", when Jack Logan returns from his latest mission in a military uniform, one of his colleagues notes how attractive he looks. Purely tongue in cheek, since he was forced to wear a Wehrmacht uniform.
  • Happily Adopted: Jack was an orphan in a foster family program. He was a rebellious teenager who often got into trouble and kicked out by other families, but the Logans adopted him rather than dump him. Jack says it changed his life.
  • Historical Domain Character: Lots of them, since Time Travel is a Once an Episode thing. There's Jack the Ripper, Al Capone, Adolf Hitler, Elliot Ness, the Village People, and others.
  • Historical In-Joke: During "The Heist," Jack bumps into a band and remarks they look like the Village People. As he walks off, one of the members says he likes the sound of that name.
  • Historical Rapsheet: Ian Pascoe is said to have caused the Chernobyl, Titanic, and Hindenburg disasters, but we don't see it in the show outside of historical records.
  • I Owe You My Life: According to Dale, Matuzek recruited him into the TEC and rescued him from a dreary and unsatisfying academic job.
  • Jack the Ripoff: Pascoe makes his debut by killing the actual Jack the Ripper and taking his place.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: Technically speaking, this is a Once an Episode trope, but Ian Pascoe really takes the cake. He's an evil time traveler who has committed many crimes throughout history, such as supplying Al Capone, taking part in assassinations, killing Jack the Ripper to take his place, and causing the Chernobyl and Hindenburg disasters. It's such an extreme case of this trope that the time agents note that they can't even correct all of Pascoe's previous meddling with the timestream, because they're already living inside one that was fundamentally shaped by his actions.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Ian Pascoe reveals that he was this to Al Capone, as he gave Alfonse the resources and advice to become a bootlegger and mob boss in the first place. Pascoe quickly presses Capone back into his service when he's back in town with a few days to kill.
  • Meanwhile, in the Future…: Done all the time. Distortions in history seem to have a delayed ripple effect, so the protagonist will go into the past to deal with the situation, his colleagues discuss the situation in the future, the protagonist sends coded messages back to them, which sometimes prompts more people to go back from the Present Day to help him, etc.
  • Parting-Words Regret: Averted in "D.O.A." Fearful they won't be able to stop their impending deaths, Matuzek stops by a school to talk to his son, William, and give him a hug. Matuzek was initially against doing this out of fear of embarrassing William in front of his friends, but Jack says all William'll ever remember is that he showed up.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: The episode "Alternate World" has Logan and a villain accidentally altering the timeline in such a way that when they get back to the future, Logan is now a criminal mastermind and the villain is still in good standing with the police force. The versions of the characters that were just replaced had their own ongoing schemes—but the Ripple Effect Proof versions don't have a clue what's going on. This leads to such increasingly circuitous bouts of Fridge Logic between everyone's interactions that the show becomes So Bad, It's Good.
  • Serial Killer: Ian Pascoe describes himself as one, and does have a pretty large bodycount. In the pilot episode he actually kills and assumes the place of the original Jack the Ripper.
  • Spanner in the Works: In "Alternate World," Usher plans to kill Jack's teenage self by sabotaging the car he was in. The present Jack fails to stop this plan from going into effect. Back in an altered 2007, they learn teenage Jack survived because he crashed the car before the sabotage fully take effect. History also ended up changing because the girl who was with him at the time didn't survive the crash and Jack got arrested.
  • Stalker with a Crush: 1950s Hollywood actress Rita Lake from "Stalker" has two. One of them is Ian Pascoe, a recurring villainous time traveler who decides to impersonate her boyfriend and murder her. The second turns out to be the homicide detective who's investigating the case, as he's the one who offed all her previous boyfriends so he could have her for himself.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: In "Rocket Science", a hipster from the future brings a laptop back to 1944 with all kinds of technological improvements on it. His first idea is to improve the V2 rocket to destroy Britain. Naturally, the hero stops him (after visiting the Bad Future where the Nazis won), and Hitler has the guy shot.
  • Time Is Dangerous: In "The Future, Jack, the Future", the protagonist and his original partner, Tommy Maddox (played by Bruce Campbell), find a mothballed time travel lab in the past. They find an early version of the pod still using rocket boosters instead of the so-called "timecop propulsion". When Maddox asks what happened if the speed wasn't high enough, the protagonist pointed him towards the blackened wall at the end of the track. Maddox later fools around this equipment and seemingly dies, but it's revealed he was Faking the Dead.
  • Whodunnit to Me?: "D.O.A.", where Jack and his boss Matuzek are suddenly killed at night by a car bomb in their headquarters' parking lot. Hemmings uses the time travel equipment to go back to that morning and warn Jack of his impending demise. Jack spends the rest of the episode rushing to put the pieces together, while Matuzek (though trying to help) treats it as his last day alive and takes care of family business. They actually fail to solve the case and appear ready to follow through with history, but their investigation changed things enough to prevent the explosive from being planted. Jack later figures out the culprit was someone he met that day and saves Matuzek from being gunned down in an alley.
  • Write Back to the Future: During the protagonist Jack Logan's investigations in the past, he would frequently send back intel to his colleagues at the time agency by hiding coded messages in things like newspaper ads.