Tru Davies (Eliza Dushku) is a hot young morgue worker who one day discovers she can hear the voices of the recently deceased. And they pretty much only say one (surprisingly cryptic) thing: "Help Me". This triggers a time reset to before they died, and Tru uses everything she knows about the deceased and her own skills in an attempt to save them. This also affords her the opportunity to fix mistakes in her and her brother's lives and to make sure she never progresses with her love interest by resetting any positive development.
The plot - already surprisingly unpredictable at times - livened up late in the series with the addition of characters working against Tru's efforts, which eventually brought into question whether or not Tru's alterations to the timeline were really all that ethical. Many tantalizing twists and plot points were promised, but its untimely cancellation means we will never Tru-ly know...
This show provides examples of:
- Bittersweet Ending: Several episodes have Tru still unable to prevent the person who asked her for help from dying; rather, she's supposed to help accomplish some sort of goal for them before their death which was not fulfilled the first time around. This occurs as early as the second episode, where she discovered that she wasn't supposed to prevent a firefighter's death, but instead help him save a little girl who died in the original timeline. Unfortunately, she'd never counted on falling for him in the process.
- Christmas Episode: "'Twas the Night Before Christmas... Again". Though the episode before it, "Enough", was the series finale on Fox, this Christmas episode is, sadly, the very last episode, and the only Christmas episode that aired on the Sci Fi Channel during the marathon on January 21, 2008 (even though it was a little late for Christmas).
- Class Reunion: A rather twisted one. Let's just say that Tru's powers activate during it, and leave it at that...
- Cosmic Chess Game: Tru is guided by an unknown spirit, which is opposed to The Grim Reaper and his servant.
- Cut Short: One of the writers revealed later that they had planned through episode eight of the second season. Then they got the actual order for the second season... it was for six episodes.
- Deadpan Snarker: Tru and Jack.
- Evil Counterpart: Fulfilled by Jack Harper, though since the morality of Tru's own path was eventually brought into question, the "evil" part is probably relative...
- Forensic Drama: Probably a bit easier when you work in a morgue... and a bit harder when one-way time travel means you can't, for instance, see the results of a DNA test or anything else that would have taken more than a couple of hours to do.
- For Want of a Nail: As with most time travel plots, small changes can have the biggest impacts... so this happens at least Once per Episode, and in a way is kind of an Every Episode Ending type of theme.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: In addition to the basic "rewound day" premise, there was an episode from the first season that actually followed this trope closely, in which she relived the day at least four times over, thanks to screwing up so many times that other victims' corpses had to ask for her help too.
- Idiosyncratic Wipes: To denote when a character's "Rewind" power was activating itself and when the viewer was going to or coming from commercial break.
- Mental Time Travel: Dead body asks for help, whoosh. One chance to save them unless someone else dies in the attempt.
- Mysterious Parent: Mom's dead, Dad's mostly away. She's met Davis, and Mom turns out to have shared Tru's powers. Dad turns out to have shared Jack's powers.
- Necessary Fail: One episode has Tru tries to save a gunshot victim with the usual tactics, by preventing his death. Her efforts cause an innocent bystander to die when he shouldn't. Third time lucky, right? Wrong. This time, a girl dies of a fatal heart condition and the initial victim had the compatible heart she needed. The reason the original scenario was a bad ending was because his heart was damaged and thus rendered worthless. The solution is make sure the first victim dies in a way that allows his heart to be salvaged and given to the girl with the disease.
- Not So Different: Jack (Tru's Evil Counterpart) taunts Tru with this a few times. Of course, he may actually have a point...
- Put on a Bus: Meredith. Went to rehab for her cocaine addiction.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Tru attempts this, to varying degrees of success, in every episode.
- Schoolgirl Lesbians: Jen and Amy in "Star-Crossed".
- Was It Really Worth It?: Asked by Tru to Jack in one of the final episodes, where Jack lets a woman fall to her death to make sure that she still dies the day she's supposed to even after he realized he was starting to have feelings for her. Jack's answer: No. It definitely wasn't.
- You Have to Believe Me!: When all else fails (or Jack sabotages it), this is what Tru falls back on. It never works.