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Series / Year Of The Rabbit

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Strauss, Rabbit and Mabel
Year Of The Rabbit is a 2019 Black Comedy sitcom starring Matt Berry as Detective Inspector Rabbit, a hardened one-eyebrowed copper who, along with his partners Sergeant Mabel Wisbech (Susan Wokoma), Britain's first female police officer, and the hapless, by-the-books Sergeant Wilbur Strauss (Freddie Fox), fights crime in Victorian London while having unusual encounters with assassins, street gangs, corrupt politicians and businessmen, Bulgarian royalty, sewer toshers, spiritualists, music hall stars, secret organisations and the Elephant Man.

Me jam tropes have stopped!

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Not as much as most examples, but this still happens to Tanner in the series 1 finale.
  • Anachronism Stew: Rule of Funny is in full effect here.
  • Big Bad: Lydia.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Series 1 ends with The Vision's plan thwarted and the majority of its members dead, and Rabbit cleared of murder with the secret services showing interest in hiring him, Strauss and Mabel. However, Lydia, the head of The Vision, has escaped, and Flora and Tanner are both dead.
  • Black Comedy: Murder, police incompetence and brutality, corruption and the general horribleness of Victorian London are all played for laughs here.
  • Brick Joke: Several, such as Rabbit's dodgy heart giving out and needing to be restarted by a punch to the chest, people asking what happened to Rabbit's eyebrow — the dog chewed it off last Christmas — and the elderly cop at the station who often says "time to shit or get off the pot" out of the blue.
  • British Brevity: Aside from the number of episodes, the episodes themselves only last half an hour, usual for British comedy shows in the 1990s but less so now.
  • The Cameo: Taika Waititi, of all people.
  • Camp Gay:
    • Joseph Merrick, and how!
    • It's revealed in the Series 1 finale that Tanner is as well.
  • Catchphrase: "Merrick don't freak for free!"
  • Chekhov's Gun: Subverted in one episode in which the pub has a bicycle hanging on the wall as "a talking point". That's going to come in handy later! Sure enough, toward the end of the episode the police have to pursue a perp and the bicycle is quickly commandeered... only for it to turn out that none of them can actually ride a bicycle, so it's swiftly abandoned and they give chase on foot instead.
  • Comically Small Bribe: "Sorry Rabbit, he promised me a quid!"note 
  • Country Matters: Rabbit and Mabel are especially crude, the chief to a lesser degree. Mabel is constantly called out on it, even by Rabbit.
  • Da Chief: Hugh Wisbech, Mabel's adoptive father. Played by Alun Armstrong, only slightly exaggerating his own accent.
  • Foreshadowing: The eye and arrow symbol.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Zig-zagged. Rabbit is the hero but has a sinister scar on his brow, indicating his conflicted nature.
  • Historical Domain Character: Joseph Merrick "The Elephant Man" is a recurring character.
  • Jerkass: Tanner, George Larkham
  • Large Ham: This is a series that stars Matt Berry after all.
  • Never My Fault: Tanner blames Rabbit for being disfigured in a bomb blast despite the fact that he only got injured in the first place because he was trying to poach Rabbit’s jewel smuggling case.
  • Old-Fashioned Copper: Rabbit prefers using threats and violence to get results.
  • Older Than Television: The alibi of one episode's villain is negated by the fact all the previous day's flights were cancelled. (National Rail is the real butt of the newspaper headline calling for re-nationalisation of the airship network). In Victorian (and later) mystery thrillers, a knowledge of train schedules, or the fact that a certain service was delayed would often lead to a villain's unmasking. This may be intentional as this series does wear its tropes on its sleeve.
  • Old-Timey Ankle Taboo: In the first episode, Rabbit visits a seedy East End theatre where the act on stage is a (fully-dressed) woman playing a housewife who teases the plumber by showing him her ankles.
  • Police Brutality: by the heroes. A lot. Mabel in particular is disturbingly eager to crack some heads like a proper copper.
  • The Rival: Tanner is initially this to Rabbit, before the rivalry turns to outright hate over the course of the series, particularly after he gets blown up in episode two.
  • Sniper Duel: A brief one between Flora and “Trigger Tom” (Princess Juliana).
  • Steampunk: The bomb in episode two is very brassy, shiny and well finished for something that's just supposed to go 'BOOM'. Real suffragette bombs were made from kitchen and household odds and ends. Mind you, the villains here are a good deal more ruthless than suffragettes, who mostly blew up empty buildings and post boxes.
    • Apparently, passenger airships are in regular use by 1889. An odd anachronism, as the Orient Express had been traversing Europe for at least 5 years, and a member of European royalty could easily have got from Paris to London by train and steamer on short notice.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: At the start of the series, Tanner is already a showboating, arrogant Jerkass who steals the credit for others successes with a rivalry against Rabbit, however starting after he's blown up and seriously injured in episode 2, his rivalry turns into outright hatred and he starts trying to outright put Rabbit out of a job, using increasingly corrupt methods as time goes on.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Lydia coolly murdering the lady who failed to kill Rabbit with a bomb.