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Video Game / Criminal Case

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The main cast in Season 1, left to right: Alex Turner, Nathan Pandit, Chief Samuel King, Agent David Jones, Grace Delaney, and Officer Ramirez.
Criminal Case is a Flash-player Puzzle Game which was developed by Pretty Simple Games and released on November 17, 2012, designed in the mold of the CSI series, and available for play through Facebook. Specifically, it's a Hidden Object Game which hides all sorts of objects inside various crime scenes.

The game currently has 6 seasons: the player begins the game as rookie police officer in the Grimsborough Police Department, partnered with a detective named Jones to solve all sorts of gruesome murders in the city. Along the way, you and Jones have to contend with various quirky, shady, and outright bizarre characters, including the bumbling beat cop Ramirez, the prostitute Ginger, the mob boss Tony Marconi, and the business mogul Alden Greene. After 56 Cases, the setting then moves on to Pacific Bay, where the player works with two different partners — Detective Frank Knight and Officer Amy Young — to assist the Pacific Bay Police Department in managing the rising crime rate in the city. 59 cases later, the player is invited by Jack Archer to join The Bureau, an International Law Enforcement agency that deals with various crimes from all over the world. After putting an end to the Nebulous Evil Organisation that was SOMBRA, Dupont gives his Bureau colleagues a journal detailing the adventures his grandfather had in Concordia as a member of the Flying Squad with a detective that looks just like the player. After finishing Dupont's journal, the player character returns to Grimsborough and its police department and reunites with friends old and new.


The game is played by more than 10 million users through Facebook, and has gotten over 36 million "likes" on the same site. Additionally, as of December 2013, Criminal Case has been named the Facebook Game of the Year 2013. In July 2014, an iOS version was developed.

Not to be confused with Criminal Minds.

Now has a character sheet, currently under development. Also now has its own Shout-Out page.

For those who are currently playing the game, SPOILERS ABOUND.

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    In General 
  • 100% Completion: Getting five-star mastery for a crime scene allows you to access that crime scene with five energy points (before then, each time you play a crime scene it costs 20 energy points). Getting five-star mastery for all crime scenes in a case gives you a gold medal (you get bronze for completing the case's main investigation, and silver for completing the side-quests).
  • Accidental Murder: Some of the cases turn out to have been caused by this.
  • Always Murder: While thefts, raids and kidnappings are sometimes involved, the main meat of each chapter is to solve a murder.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: You get some random items to dress up your character avatar as rewards for some of the side-quests you complete.
  • And Your Reward Is Edible: Two inversions that benefit other players—each time you level up, you can share one orange juice (which restores 20 energy points) for other players to get, and each time you increase in rank (which happens every couple of level-ups), you can share a potato chip pack, which restores 50 points. Played straight for yourself by completing some of the side-quests; the reward in some of these cases is a burger, which restores your energy bar by 120 points. There's also rewards for "liking" it on Facebook and playing every day, which gives similarly edible rewards.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: Each energy point, which you use to play the different scenes, takes three minutes to recharge. Since you always have 110 energy points as the base amount, if you use up all of that, you have to wait approximately five hours for the bar to be fully charged (unless you get extra donated energy points or replenishing items from other players). The forensic analyses performed by your in-game CSI team will also take anywhere between two minutes to 18 hours real-time to complete.
  • Arc Villain: The cases in each district are often interconnected by a single theme, with one person being responsible for most — if not all — of the district's murders.
    • Grimsborough:
      • Industrial Area: Tossed up between Tony Marconi and Salvador Cordero, the leaders of the Italian mafia and the Vipers gang, respectively. Marconi wins when he murders Cordero for attacking Ginger, only to be jailed for twenty years to life.
      • Financial Center: Alden Greene, a Corrupt Corporate Executive whose company Greene Holdings has a stranglehold on the district and funds General James Marsh's experiments that turns soldiers into killing machines.
      • Historical Center: No particular main villain for the arc itself. At least not for the main murder investigations. The Additional Investigations, though, have an overarching theme of poisons being laid out for dogs—with "Dog Eat Dog" establishing local old lady Margaret Littlewood as the villain in question.
      • University: The Rorschach Reaper A.K.A. Tess Goodwin, a Serial Killer who hypnotizes certain students into killing their friends or relatives they hold a grudge against.
      • Maple Heights: Adam Bentley, just a wannabe socialite who is rejected for being nowhere near as rich as Maple Heights wants to be. When he discovers the Crimson Order's illegal goldmine and blackmailed them for money to keep quiet, Serena Johnson orders Chief King to assassinate him.
      • Airport: Milton Grimmes, leader of the Crimson Order.
    • Pacific Bay:
      • Ocean Shore: Derek Stone, Frank's arch rival.
      • Bayou Bleu: Erikah Mabayo, a Serial Killer who had murdered several prostitutes who works under her, and had started the voodoo craze in the district to oppress the people with fear.
      • Inner City: Between Nikolai Kamarov, Sue Xiong, and Fredo Mancini, leaders of the Russians, Chinese, and the anarchist Inner Chaos gang, respectively. And then there's Back-Alley Doctor Mark McKenzie, who's responsible for stealing organs from the murder victims, acting under the orders of the true villain, Nikolai's and Sue's Bastard Bastard son Rupert Snow.
      • Jazz Town: TWO of them: Veronica Blade and Freddie Alonzo, the former responsible for creating the hurricanes that destroyed the district and thus is pretty much caused all the tragedy therein; the latter is the true identity of The Puppeteer, a Serial Killer who murdered Yann's parents in the past and is the main villain of the Additional Investigations.
      • White Peaks: Amy's older brother, Duncan Young, also know as the Night Walker, an monster born of urban legends who is responsible for a number of kidnappings and murders, and indirectly causes the death of several others.
      • Ivywood Hills: Holly Hopper, the Utopians' leader, is the mastermind behind the cult's plan to brainwash the entire population of Ivywood Hills, if not the whole Pacific Bay, during the Awards Ceremony, and is directly responsible in the brainwashing of Chief Marquez. However, her plans are hijacked by Velma Bannister, who plans to brainwash Pacific Bay into worshipping her forever.
      • Rhine Canyon: General Freeman, a xenophobe who keeps trying to prevent several people, including Colonel Spangler, from helping Randolph (an actual alien) return to his home planet. Like the previous Arc Villain, he didn't actually commit any murder.
      • Innovation Valley: Aphro-Dyte who tried to get the robots to revolt against humans, and nearly succeeded.
      • Paradise City: Karen Knight, with some help from Frank, who was the mastermind behind Louis de Rico, who's the leader of the heist team planning to rob the Mennagio Casino. This one didn't commit a murder unless you count Frank.
      • The Wastes: The ending of the previous district has the perpetrators on the run, implying that they will be the villains again, but it's actually Albert Tesla, the founder of Pacific Bay, who manipulated Frank and Karen Knight to put his plans into motion.
    • World Edition:
      • Europe: Archibald Gilchrist, leader of the Prometheans, a Ku Klux Klan-like cult who intends to push for the unification of Europe's nations and take over.
      • Sahara Region: The Sword A.K.A. Omar Bahir, the assassin responsible for Chief Ripley's murder, then sows seeds of hatred against the foriegners in the hearts of locals, and supports rebels.
      • Eurasia: A SOMBRA spy has infiltrated the Russian Space Agency, COSMORUS, in order to launch a satellite that could potentially breach every global communication devices, and bring the world to ruin. The spy is in fact the head of COSMORUS herself, Natasha Romanova.
      • South Asia: The NGO worker Warren Goodfellow, who was ordered to besmirch guru Om Padmasana's name, and thus delay The Bureau in its investigations against SOMBRA.
      • East Asia: the Head Hunter Ronin Ozawa (who the previous Arc Villain answers to) who is on a mission on child trafficking, and Obaasan, the one in charge of brainwashing the kidnapped children.
      • Oceania: Dr. Marshall Metcalf, a blue-skinned scientist who heads a breeding program for the orphans captured by SOMBRA, known as the Next Level program. Ironically, he becomes the victim of the region finale rather than the killer.
      • Africa: TWO of them. One is Lavinia De Brills, the heiress of De Brills Diamonds, who smuggled her own diamonds to SOMBRA. The other is the SOMBRA mole within the Bureau, who murders the former since Lavinia knows who she is: Angela Douglas.
      • South America: El Rey A.K.A. Arsenio Castillo, the founder and former leader of SOMBRA.
      • North America: Hector Montoya, El Rey's successor. Upon his arrest, Sarah Bennett, the Vice President of the United States, continues his goal.
    • Mysteries of the Past
      • New Haven: Edward Whimple, the trafficking of Irish immigrants into slavery being his brainchild.
      • Elysium Fields: Mr. Alastor A.K.A. Archie Rochester, orchestrating several parties and manipulating the murderers behind each one, all to woo the apple of his eye: Giulietta Capecchi.
      • Century Mile: Eleanor Halstead, the industrial saboteur that tampered with several inventions throughout the World Exhibition. And then she reveals she was merely under the pay of Stanley Spark and Finley Flanagan so the former can win the fair.
      • Sinner's End: Finley and Fiona Flanagan, a Brother–Sister Team of mobsters who run the illegal activities in the district, and the Scarlet Slayer, a Serial Killer who preys on prostitutes. The Scarlet Slayer is revealed to be Fiona, who is then killed by her own brother.
      • Coyote Gorge: Vittorio Capecchi, the leader of the Italian mob, who essentially runs the district.
      • Crimson Banks: Franca Capecchi, wife of Vittorio, who sought revenge on the Irish for his death.
      • Wolf Street: The Big Bad Duumvirate of Larry Rochester and Sandra Hwang, the man behind the Concordia Telephone Company scam and the Corrupt Politician that covered his tracks and other shady dealings made by his family, respectively. Until Sandra betrays Rochester and he killed her in retaliation.
      • Grim Chapel: "The Devil" A.K.A. William Oland, who helps prospective murderers into making their crimes look like freak accidents. He's a Disc-One Final Boss for the arc itself, with his wife Sylvia May taking over, and the plot sheds some light on the dark secrets of Gryphon Sanctuary.
      • Ivory Hill: A Big Bad Duumvirate between Malcom Rochester, the Corrupt Politician who plans to turn Concordia into a Republic dominated by his clan and his uncle, Horatio Rochester, who is responsible for bribing officials of the Gryphon Sanctuary in hitting healthy patients to silence them and using his illegitimate daughter as an Unwitting Pawn against he Flying Squad. Malcom also bribes Thaddeus Mulroney, the new Commissioner of the Concordian Police Department, to free Eleanor Hasteald from the prison, ordering her to assasinate then deputy mayor Justin Lawson, and later Mayor Castletown. In the last case of the district, the former trhee are impriosioned, leaving Eleanor Halsted as the main villain. However, she claims the murder of the Mayor as a personal goal. She even says that after the prisons, the Rochester have no more power over the city.
      • Capitol Peak: After spending a majority of Mysteries of the Past as a steadfast ally to the Flying Squad, Mayor Justin Lawson is apparently Jumping Off the Slippery Slope by taking a militant approach to stopping crime in Concordia. Surprisingly, he doesn't show up (at least until the finale), and for most of the arc the Squad is instead directly opposed by the head of the Justice Corps and the new judge Inspector Jaubert and Dora Umbright, respectively.
    • The Conspiracy
      • Fairview: The Rocket Cow Serial Killer A.K.A. Rosamund Wilcox, the principal of Fairview High School, who targets parents caught arguing with their teenage children by giving them poisoned Rocket Cow to drink.
      • Money Mile: Meera Kat, a performance artist using the Grimsborough earthquake and its victims for her performance art. Christian Bateman is equally wicked when he kills Meera in the district finale simply because she rejects his crush on her.
      • The Greens: Rozetta Pierre, founder of DreamLife. Starts to shape up as the villain of the season after Misty Grove.
      • Old Town: Steven Crowe, another returning character from Season 1 who now leads cult group The Higher Truth. Except he's merely an Unwitting Pawn to the true mastermind behind the cult, Grayson Rosewater.
      • Maple Heights: Ernest Emerson, the one who unleashed the demon fish in the first place.
      • Misty Grove: Rozetta Pierre.
      • University: Ad Astra, a sorority group started by Rozetta Pierre in her college years and revived just a year ago, who believe in Rozetta's view on selective superiority. Turns out to be a Big Bad Duumvirate of all five Ad Astra members Polly O'Brien, Courtney Guerrera, Lucius Roth, Azeeb Patel, and Dorothy Kix.
      • Spring Fields: AgriMeadow CEO Julia Brine, codename Fornax, one of the original Ad Astra members, who is also behind the burning of the corn fields. In a strange aversion, she's arrested halfway through the district rather than at the end. It is then revealed that Christian Bateman had funded Julia's company from the beginning. Soon after, he is released from jail and - with the help of Mayor Joe Warren - pays Mia Loukas's boyfriend to kill the player with a bomb to prevent the investigation against the original Ad Astra, of which they are part.
      • Airport: Initially Christian Bateman and Mayor Joe Warren, both Orion and Perseus of Ad Astra, but Louis Leroux, codename Cassiopeia, who ends up being the final Ad Astran. In a turn of events, the villain is actually Ad Astra's real leader, responsible for the Big Blackout and Leroux's death.
      • Newmark: Denise Daniels, Ad Astra's real leader, who also happens to be Rozetta's mother. Her plan was to create a race of superhumans called neohumans. One of the experiments, Otto Kessel, was tested several times throughout his development, with him becoming more obedient to her orders. For the final stage of testing, Denise dared Otto to pass by his assistant in human form. However, the longer he was out of the tank, more aware he became of the abuse inflicted on him and his neohumans by Denise. As the neohumans were still totally under Denise's control, Otto decided to "free" them. So he murdered her so that his race no longer had to submit to Denise or any human. With the control of the neohumans, Otto initiated a wave of attack throughout Grimsborough.
    • Travel in Time
      • Ancient Times: Octavian in his campaign to destroy Egypt and keep safe the power of the Roman Republic.
      • The 1960s: After their time machine was sabotaged by Ammon Bast, T.I.M.E. remains in the 1960s in the midst of the Cold War, where US Congressman Graham Winslow kills Soviet ambassador Lev Romanov to kickstart an armed conflict between the Soviet Union and USA so that the USA could wipe out the Soviet Union immediately.
      • Renaissance: The Spanish Inquisition, who not only terrorize Europe with their violent methods but also have Leonardo Da Vinci imprisoned. The final case of the district has the Grand Inquisitor, Cardinal Cisneros, found guilty of murder.
      • Altered Present: The Ptolemy Dynasty - lead by Pharaoh Ramses XLIII and Queen Shabaka - responsible for altering the timeline to make Egypt a global superpower. Particularly, Nebet is revealed to really be Princess Nefertiti, daughter of the Ptolemian leaders, who had been helping Ammon Bast and disguised herself as a Fish out of Temporal Water to spy on the team.
      • Age of Sail: Ammon Bast, who is changing history in the Age of Sail to seize trade routes for Egypt, and pursues the team when he catches wind of their plans.
      • Medieval Asia: Ammon Bast, who travels to the Mongol Empire with a shipment of firearms to help Ogedei Khan prepare for Mongolia's conquest of China prematurely, after failing to win the trade routes needed to alter history in his favor.
      • The End: The past versions of Nefertiti and Ammon Bast.
    • Supernatural Investigations
      • West: Eric Zwart, the vampire who kidnaps Mina Reynolds and creates an invincibility elixir to prove himself worthy to Dr Aculus, only to behead him after being rejected.
      • Southwest: An unknown spirit who has been killing livestock, leaving high amounts of sulfur in their cadavers, in addition to possessing and driving natural resource workers to murder.
      • Rockies:
      • Midwest:
      • East:
      • South:
  • Ax-Crazy: Quite a number of the killers in the game turn out to be this, though the especially monstrous of the bunch are better at hiding it than those who are on medication for actual mental problems.
  • Back for the Finale: In the finale of a district, your suspects will usually consist of people from previous cases.
  • Big Bad: Even with multiple criminals throughout the game, each season has someone responsible for the majority.
    • Grimsborough: Milton Grimmes.
    • Pacific Bay: Albert Tesla.
    • World Edition: Hector Montoya aka El Rey, the leader of SOMBRA.
    • Mysteries of the Past: The Big Bad Shuffle between the Concordian Police Department, the Irish and Italian gangs, and the Rochester family, with each of them being the villains at some point in the season. Their actions lead Justin Lawson - the newly elected mayor of Concordia and ally of the Concordian Flying Squad - to set up a dictatorial regime in the city to end criminal activity.
    • The Conspiracy: Rozetta Pierre in an attempt to get approval from her mother and creator, Denise Daniels, the brains behind Rozetta's actions throughout the season. In the season finale Denise is murdered by Otto Kessel, another of her creations who rebels against her and takes control of Denise's plan.
    • Travel in Time: The saboteur of the time machine, who turns out to be Ammon Bast, who in turn is working alongside Nebet (who is actually a princess named Nefertiti) to alter history so that Ancient Egypt can become a global superpower.
  • Bittersweet Ending: All seasons end as such.
    • Grimsborough: After the Police Department celebrated the defeat of the Crimson Order, the Player Character leaves Grimsborough for a new position in the Pacific Bay Police Department.
    • Pacific Bay: Amy and the Player Character managed to save Pacific Bay from Albert Tesla, but at the cost of Frank Knight's life. Afterwards, the Bureau recruits the Player Character.
    • World Edition: The Bureau defeated SOMBRA for good, but not before Armand Dupont gave his life to protect the player and Jack. And since the Bureau was created for the sole purpose of taking down SOMBRA, their defeat means that the Bureau family has to part ways.
    • Mysteries of the Past: The Concordian Flying Squad put an end to Justin Lawson's tyranny, but lost Charles Dupont along the way.
    • The Conspiracy: With Ad Astra and Denise Daniels dead, and the latter's neohumans on the loose, Rita sacrifices herself by using a super-powered, but lethal, version of the Berzelium to defeat them. Six months later, Jones manages to recover from his near-death experience, Cathy is expecting her second child, and the team attend Amir and Jasper's wedding. At the end, Jack Archer from 2029 appears and sends the player character to the future to join the Temporal Crimes Division.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • Facebook = FriendNet
    • iPhone/iPad = PearPhone/PearPad
    • Red Bull = Rocket Cow
    • Dairy Queen = King Dairy
    • Youtube = TrendVid
    • Tetris = Fletris
    • Fox News = Wolf News
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: One of the reasons Criminal Case is so popular is because it averts Allegedly Free Game. That being said, you can use real-world money to purchase in-game energy restorers, instantly complete the lab analyses you'd otherwise have to wait hours for, and buy better police dogs.
  • Busman's Holiday: In at least a third, if not half, of the cases, the player stumbles upon a murder while not on duty. In Maple Heights, it happens in almost every case.
  • Canine Companion: You can raise a police dog from puppy-hood to full adulthood, and the dog itself serves to sniff out Lucky Cards, experience points, coins, and energy points, depending on the breed it is. Grace also has a dog named Newton, who you and Jones rescue from his abusive former owner in a side-quest. Jones himself ends up adopting a dog, Astrid.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: To the point of being a gameplay mechanic. Some minigame puzzles require you to identify a suspect by comparing features and overall facial shape to ones 'on file'.
  • Character Customization: You can change your player avatar's clothes, hair, facial expressions, and accessories (badges, glasses, etc.) at any point in the game, and you can buy new options for each of these at any time with in-game coins earned from game-play. You can also change your character's gender at any time, but you have to pay in-game money to do so each time.
  • Conspiracy Kitchen Sink: Whenever the police team discover a conspiracy theory — be it the existence of the Crimson Order, the possibility that the hurricane that struck Jazz Town is man-made, the Utopians' brainwashing — would turn out to be true, no matter how unlikely and how adamantly your team mates might deny its possibility.
  • The Coroner: The LEAs the player character works with every season have one for each. Grimsborough has Nathan Pandit, Pacific Bay has Roxie Sparks, World Edition has Angela Douglas (until her arrest and subsequent replacement by Grace Delaney), Mysteries of the Past has Richard Wells, and The Conspiracy has Martine Meunier.
  • Cosmetic Award: The trophies. You win them after performing specific feats in-game (such as consuming a certain number of orange juices, or using one of your boosters a certain number of times), but they don't affect your game-play in any way.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Many of the deaths you're called on to investigate fall under this. Just for a few examples, one victim was burned with cigarettes, then sliced open and hung up among pig carcasses in a butcher's store; another had his hand sawed off and bled to death in a bathtub; and a third was lashed on his back to the point of bleeding, and then crucified; and there was several cases of victims being eaten alive by a shark, a giant-plant, and rats, and another being roasted alive and cannibalized.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: The Facebook and iOS versions can be synchronized by connecting to the former. The trick is that scenes were rearranged for the latter. This can be rather disorienting during the Time Attack bonus games.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • The persons whose problems are the focus of the side-quests consist of those suspects in the main cases who weren't guilty of the murders they were being investigated for.
    • Pacific Bay features a "character arc" for each of the team members in various districts. There is Inner City for Hannah, Jazz Town for Yann, White Peaks for Amy, Ivywood for Russell, Rhine Canyon for Andrea, and Frank straddles the two small districts of Innovation Valley and Paradise City.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: If a police station became a scene, then there's a good chance that one of selectable objects is a donut.
  • Eagle-Eye Detection: Possessed by your character in-story, and it's also a necessary tool for players to accurately find the hidden items in various scenes.
  • Eaten Alive: A couple of the murder victims died due to being fed to wildlife by their murderers. Aaliyah Banks from Case 39 was half eaten by piranhas, Roland Vane from Case 50 was crushed to death then almost eaten by a giant boa, Jimmy "Ice P" Lewis from the first Pacific Bay case was fed to a shark, while Nora Lewis of Case 64 (or Case 8 Pacific Bay) died after being ingested by a giant man-eating plant.
  • Economy Cast: Every sporting event featured in the game is MC-ed by the unnamed Announcer. Likewise, all TV news in World Edition are reported by Cooper Anderson.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect:
    • The murder investigation of Adam Bentley in Case 51 qualifies, as the case involved 8 suspects (instead of the usual 5). Also, none of the suspects is a new character. All of them are well-known from previous cases. This impressive lineup included Tony Marconi (convict), Alden Greene (former convict and corrupt businessman), Howard Johnson (Mayor of Grimsborough), Serena Johnson (Politician, Howard's mother), Martha Price (Politician, Howard's rival), Lola Vallez (celebrity), Zack Holden (CEO of Friendnet); and, later, even Chief King got mixed up in the whole affair.
    Chief King: ...I see. Well, Justice should apply to everyone. I am very impressed with your integrity, (player's rank and name).
    • The case with Chief King as a suspect shows that even members of the PD are not exempt from becoming suspects themselves. In fact, all members of the Pacific Bay PD except Amy have been flagged as suspects in at least one case by the end of Season 2. Case 56 of Pacific Bay illustrates this with 4 out of the 5 suspectsnote  being members of the police department. It's Frank.
    • Similar to the above example, all 5 suspects of Case 42 of World Edition are members of the Bureau.note  It's Angela.
  • Evil Is Petty: Several murderers have motives that are eye-rollingly petty, if not crazy or For the Evulz. Case in point, the murderer of Case 58 from Mysteries of the Past, who claims that it was unfair that her victim got a promotion in the telegraph office and had a rich husband while she had not despite supposedly being "better than her" and who turned to murder in order to "fix the personal injustice in her life".
  • Evil Matriarch: There are five so far.
    • Serena Johnson is a fairly straight example. Her son Howard is the mayor, and she pretty much controls what he does from the sidelines.
    • Barbara Pickley from Pacific Bay Case 4 is more unusual. She's a man-hating feminist who only had a son. She loves but despises him, lets him grow up to be a manchild (because she doesn't think men can be more than that), and lavishes all her attention on her daughter-in-law Susan. She introduces Susan to feminism, and murders her after she deviates from her narrow definition of it.
    • Marina Romanova's mother Natasha was hinted to be corrupt by her own daughter, who was nearly killed while uncovering a corruption scandal in the past. Marina's suspicions were confirmed when Natasha had Yelena Tereshkova kill Vitaly Borodin and launch a satellite that will disrupt the world's electronics infrastructure on behalf of SOMBRA because she wanted to control the Russian government.
    • Franca Capecchi, the wife of Italian mob boss Vittorio, stirred a feud between the Irish and Italian communities in Crimson Banks after her husband's murder at the hands of Seamus O'Neill.
    • Rozetta Pierre's mother, Denise Daniels, who turns out to have influenced her actions during The Conspiracy. Not only did she abandon Rozetta at the age of ten after declaring her a "failed experiment" in creating a new race of superhumans (and thereby leaving her lonely, prompting her to create Ad Astra to make friends and set off the titular Conspiracy to gain her mother's approval), but when she does succeed in creating her neohumans, she treats them like they're beneath her and one of them, Otto Kessel, was subject to physical, mental and even sexual abuse from her.
  • Experience Points: Gained through playing the different stages, completing forensic analyses, and doing mini-games in the form of restoring torn-up evidence or magnifying of clues for minute evidence traces.
  • A Fool for a Client: Most killers have no lawyers to speak on their behalf during their trials. The exceptions in this rule include the killers of Case 15 of Grimsborough and Case 9 of Pacific Bay.
  • Femme Fatale:
    • Samantha Warner, in Case 10. She's been having affairs with at least two different men (one of whom is that case's murder victim, for which Samantha is herself a suspect), and she flirts with Jones when interrogated.
    • Kerry Ann Buxton seemingly tries to become one, without success. A former glamour model who had fallen out of society's favour, she tries to regain her limelight by getting involved in many affairs — including one with the Mayor — and becomes delusional enough to believe that her charms were the reason behind Mayor Johnson's successful campaign. This eventually led to her death, as one of her lovers decided that she's gone too far in degrading herself to gain fame.
    • Velma Bannister of Ivywood Hills is a beautiful seductress who charms men into giving her what she wants. She once seduced Frank to get the police off her back when she was suspected for murder in Case 34 of Pacific Bay, uses her much-older-husband's wealth and influence to bail herself from arrest when she was convicted for dealing with stolen goods, and later seduces Trevor Neuman into giving her a modified version of the Utopians' brainwashing tape to brainwash the whole world into worshipping her beauty forever.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: The LEAs the player character works with every season usually have one tech expert for each. Grimsborough has Alex Turner, Pacific Bay has Hannah Choi, World Edition has Elliot Clayton, and The Conspiracy has Cathy Turner. Mysteries of the Past doesn't have a tech expert, though Charles Dupont's role as an inventor means he qualifies for this trope.
  • A God Am I: The Big Bad of each season have a disturbing obsession with godhood, apparently.
    • The leader of The Crimson Order claims to be the god of Grimsborough. During his trial, he angrily declares that they should be worshiping him instead of locking him away.
    • Likewise, Albert Tesla insists that he was that he is the creator of Pacific Bay, as his scientific advances has allowed the city to transform from a barren wasteland into a paradise. His whole plan revolves around trying to raze the city back into ashes so that he can upload all the citizens' conciousness into a digital world where he reigns supreme.
    • There is a non-Big Bad example in World Edition. Ayush Patil believed that it was his calling to do something about the overpopulation of India, so he stole a deadly virus from a lab and unleashed it onto the public. When he's arrested, he smiles and continues to insist that a new era is born thanks to him.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • The screen turns black when Chief King shoots himself in Case 51, and scene pans to a shocked looking Jones afterwards.
    • Same thing happens in Case 86 (or Case 30 of Pacific Bay) in the video footage showing the Night Walker killing Roberto Vasquez.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: There are 184 trophies you can attain by completing specific criteria within gameplay. You can also collect playing cards, or "Lucky Cards" (the aces, the 10s and the face-cards), and if you can get all the cards in any one of the four suits, you can trade that suit for coins (the club suit), experience points (the diamond suit), orange juices (the spade suit) or potato chips (the heart suit).
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The game contains some examples:
    • Solomon Grimmes in Grimsborough. The Crimson Order is currently led by his descendant, Milton Grimmes, but Solomon is responsible for its foundation.
    • SOMBRA is a global crime organization led by Hector Montoya also known as El Rey. However, Montoya is the current leader, chosen by the original El Rey ten years ago. The original leader is none other than Arsenio Castillo, responsible for founding SOMBRA as a philosophical club in Campanilla, Colombia decades ago.
  • Hate Sink:
    • Alden Greene is a Smug Snake who used his connections and money to get out of jail twice. He murdered Rachel Priest when she learned he was funding General James Marsh’s Super Soldier experiments and defended his actions as merely business because he just ran with people’s greed. When Jones heard he bailed himself out of jail despite his lifetime jail sentence, he was enraged at the justice Alden escaped from. Even a second lifetime jail sentence, this time in solitary confinement, didn’t stop him, because he reappeared in Pacific Bay working for Albert Tesla to destroy Pacific Bay and showed no remorse for the casualties he inflicted.
    • Miriam Young may not be a killer or an accomplice to a murder, but she spends almost all of her screen time belittling her daughter Amy, saying that she’ll never be better than her brother Duncan. Even when Duncan was flagged as a suspect, she believed he was being abused by the police and offered to become a suspect just to imagine the headlines saying that Amy was mistreating her mother and brother. Duncan’s diary after his arrest revealed that she also saw him as a failure after he was shot and lost his job at the police.
    • Ayush Patil is a sociology professor who unleased a plague in India, killing hundreds of people in the name of solving the world’s overpopulation problem. During his trial, he boasted that his plan was complete anyway because people were dying from the plague, horrifying Judge Adaku. Even before he was revealed to be a mass murderer, he made an extremely insulting remark on one of his students’ paper, claiming that he knew nothing of sociology despite his extensive knowledge of science.
    • Archie Rochester is first depicted as a sickly young man before it’s revealed that he masterminded several murders in parties he hosted under the name Mr. Alastor. His reason was to impress Giulietta Capecchi, who wanted nothing to do with him because one of his victims is her sister. The worst part of it is that he got away scot-free. When he reappeared in Case 40, he Took a Level in Jerkass by boasting about himself and insulting others for no apparent reason.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: You are asked to input your name the first time you start playing.
  • Heroic Mime: Everybody talks to the player character, addresses him/her by name, offers him/her gifts of food or clothing, gives orders to him/her, flirts with him/her, cusses him/her...and your character never says a word (that's shown on-screen, at least) in response, although character reactions show that the main character is intelligent and not above teasing.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Many of the game's hidden objects are put in scenes where you'd logically expect them to be found in such situations, such as a banner above the entrance to a building or a bit of graffiti on a wall in an alley. Other times, the hidden objects aren't the kind of things you'd expect to see at those scenes but are still in plain open sight anyway, such as a volcano in the background of an urban bridge scene, a Bedsheet Ghost in a casino, or The Grim Reaper in the middle of a prom ballroom.note 
  • Hidden Object Game: One of several game modes is searching through piles of rubbish, leaves and other detritus to find clues and pieces of evidence.
  • Hints Are for Losers: Each time you go to a crime scene, you can take a fellow player's avatar (or the hint partners of the season if all of the fellow player avatars are used up), and around their avatar icon is a bar with a maximum of five hints, to point out where the hidden items are in the scene if you get stuck. However, the more unused hints you have when you find all the items, the more points you receive at the end, meaning the inverse is true the more hints you use.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: You can carry around any number of orange juices, potato chips, hamburgers, and Lucky Cards you like.
  • I Didn't Mean to Kill Him: Many murderers who commit accidental murders say something that boils down to this during their arrests. How sympathetic they are generally depends on the circumstances of the killing itself. One of the most notable cases is Case 18 of Grimsborough. Julian Ramis and his friend Freddy Stewart stole various items from Alden Greene, including a rusty crossbow that fired on its own when Julian was holding it, killing Freddy in the process.
  • Implausible Deniability: It's a longstanding tradition for the murderer to repeatedly deny any wrongdoing during their arrest, even as the player's partner for the case produces the various pieces of evidence linking them to their crime(s), before finally confessing when they realise the jig's up. Some notable exceptions end up becoming Exasperated Perps and Saying Too Much, but it's still ultimately this.
  • Interface Spoiler: For each season's requisite 'Traitor among us'/ 'Tonight, Someone Dies' episode, it's a safe bet that none of the characters that can be selected to investigate crime scenes with are going to be the traitor or the victim.note  The exceptions are those that provide only one hint bonus, such as Frank Knight and Michelle Zuria.
    • Averted with Charles Dupont, who is a 5-hint partner and becomes a murder victim, and Rita Estevez, who is a 4-hint partner and performs a Heroic Sacrifice in the Season 5 finale.
  • The Killer Becomes the Killed: In a few cases throughout all seasons, someone who was convicted of a previous murder might be killed in a case the player is then working on.
  • Level Grinding: The more levels you get, the higher you can get promoted.
  • Level-Up Fill-Up: Your energy point bar gets refilled to the maximum with each level-up.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Aside from your player character, nobody seems to change their clothes at any time, unless it's plot-relevant or in rare moments when we get insight into their personalities. note 
  • Loading Screen: There's one for starting the game, which includes a picture of Jones and Grace drawn in very realistic style as opposed to the more cartoon-like artwork the characters are drawn in within the game itself. There's also a loading screen for the crime scenes, depicted as a police squad car driving along the road en route to the scene.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: To say that Criminal Case has a lot of chracters would be an understatement. With 7 seasons and over 300 cases, this has lead to a ton of suspects, victims, team members, and even minor characters. As an example to highlight this, the very first district of the game (Industrial Area) has 48 unique characters involving the suspects and victims. The total character count is very difficult to fully tally at this point.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Zigzagged. The player character investigates crime scenes, interviews witnesses and suspects, pieces evidence together, and collects fingerprints and DNA samples. However, deeper analysis of said evidence — fingerprints, chemical substances and DNA samples — is done by the coroner, forensics or tech experts of the PD, who are naturally more qualified to do that sort of thing, and they don't go around conducting interviews of witnesses or suspects the way most CSI-related series would do. However, there are also times where the player character is asked to "match" fingerprints and even biological molecules and chemical substance with the database because it would take the other team members (you know, the experts) "too long" to analyze.
  • Mini-Game:
    • The Bonus Scenes, incorporating one of three crime scenes associated with the case. The first to be unlocked (usually by earning up to 2 stars) is a tile-sliding jigsaw puzzle that increases the number of pieces the more stars on the scene, the second (unlocked usually with 7 stars) is a Time Trial where the player must collect as many clues under a time limit and the last (usually needed 16 stars) is a spot-the-differences game where two versions of a crime scene are shown and you are expected to find as many of the differences between the two versions as possible. The stars won from completing these mini-games can also be used to advance in the investigation of that case, though the games themselves have nothing to do with the case proper.
    • Clue examinations in the Forensic Kit are also minigames. Restore involves putting a broken clue together like a jigsaw puzzle; players Collect lab samples in a Minesweeper-like board; Decode has players trying to read scratched-off numbers, letters or words; Find a specific clue among a pile of rubbish items; the players must use a brush and powder to Reveal hidden articles (fingerprints, hidden messages, etc.) in a particular clue (first appearing in the Industrial Center); the players have to Find the Same, trying to picture an object or suspect among a few samples (also debuted in Industrial); Vacuum involves collecting particles in a clue (debuts in World Edition), with those particles being the clue itself or hiding a message underneath; Match the Molecules analyzes samples collected from Vacuum (although sometimes samples from other minigames are used instead); and Cryptex (starting from Mysteries of the Past) uses cipher combinations to decode locks.
  • One of Our Own: Occasionally, a member of the Police Department you work at will become a suspect. Special mention goes to Case 56 of Pacific Bay, Case 42 of World Edition, and Case 60 of Mysteries of the Past. In these cases, all but one suspect, or even all the suspects, are members of the the season's respective PD.
  • Never Say "Die": While victims die all the time, there is no death penalty in the Criminal Case world. A few suspects are killed before they go to trial.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Zeus the pimp is clearly Snoop Dogg.
    • The Vipers' gang leader Salvador Cordero from Grimsborough's Industrial District resembles Danny Trejo.
    • Ivan Imlay, the gravedigger from "The Wollcraft's Creature Case" in Grimsborough's Historical District, of Marty Feldman's Igor from Young Frankenstein.
    • Zack Holden, the owner of FriendNet, is an obvious parody of Mark Zuckerberg.
    • Professional golfer Tony Webb is based on Tiger Woods. They even share the same initials.
    • In case 44, the victim, Hank Buxton, has a resemblance to Donald Trump while his wife, Kerry Ann Buxton has too many similarities to Anna Nicole Smith for it to be coincidental.
    • Martha Price looks like Sarah Palin's face on Hillary Clinton's body.
    • Not as obvious as other examples, but Trevor Finn of Pacific Bay is apparently created as a tribute to the Criminal Case Lets Player, Pitchingace88.
    • Roberto Vasquez, a recurring character from the White Peaks arc, is modeled after Jorge Garcia.
    • Case 92 (or Case 36 Pacific Bay) introduces us to a composer named Hannah Simmer, whose name is an obvious Shout-Out to Hans Zimmer.
    • Holly Hopper, a recurring character in Ivywood Hills, looks very similar to Lady Gaga, right down to her outrageous hairstyle and outfits.
    • Greta Meduse in case 49 of Pacific Bay could pass for Joan Rivers.
    • Case 11 of World Edition has Vanna Alabama, a Miley Cyrus parody. She even quotes Cyrus's song "Wrecking Ball" in one of her lines.
    • SILVERee, the K-pop idol, is based on two from real-life: K-pop rapper T.O.P. (for his appearance) and South Korean boy band SHINee (for his stage name).
    • U.S. President James Hewett is definitely a parody of George W. Bush, even bearing his nickname "Dubya".
    • TV News reporter Cooper Anderson is based on real-life journalist, Anderson Cooper.
    • Robert Hicks, the leader of the USNay (a movement which calls for the isolation of America and the building of the wall in the Mexican border), is yet another Trump parody.
    • Stanley Spark looks like what you can get if a younger Stan Lee portrayed Tony Stark. He even invented a Powered Armor!
    • Milton Dobby is clearly Toby Jones, who voiced a house-elf named Dobby in Harry Potter films.
    • Savannah Blake, an actress who appears in Case 9 of The Conspiracy, is clearly based on Meghan Markle. She's also stated to be dating a royal.
    • Tamat Loren, a newscaster from Case 19 of Travel in Time, has her appearance and name based off Tomi Lahren.
  • Not Enough to Bury: Generally, any case's AI that stumbles upon a body dead way before the case's canon. Usually what's left of the long-dead body is a smashed skull or very little of the bones. However, there are a few cases in the game that play this straight in the present.
    • In Case 21 of Grimsborough, all that's left of Rachel Priest is her skinless, headless body and pieces of her skull broken by her killer. And you're told her bones teared her skin open as she died.
    • Case 48 of Pacific Bay is the most gruesome example. The victim was sawed up and her body was placed in three blenders. By the time you find her, only her head and one of her hands and feet are intact. The rest has essentially been turned into a smoothie.
    • Averted with Case 8 of The Conspiracy. The victim, despite being dead for four years, was mostly preserved because she was cemented into a wall.
  • No Warrant? No Problem!: There's enough warrantless searches to keep an entire Internal Affairs department busy. One of the more blatant examples is in Grimsborough Case 4 — a suspect refuses to let Jones and your PC search her apartment without a warrant. Jones tells her that demand is "cute", and you and Jones search the apartment anyway.
  • Pixel Hunt: Sometimes, the items you need to find in each scene are too well-hidden, resulting in you having to use one hint just to find the items in question. Just for one especially frustrating general example, good luck finding arrows that are painted white and are hidden among clouds in the sky.
  • Point-and-Click Map: You can go from one section of the city to another, choosing to leave one case to go to another.
  • Police Lineup: How the suspects in a given case are arrayed for you to point out the guilty party. Each suspect will have at least one or two of the guilty party's identifying marks or traits, but only the one who matches all the traits will be the killer.
  • Powerup Letdown: The Airport batch of Police Pets. They take far, far longer for comparison  to raise than all other pets. And the Airport pets' drops are not that different from the Maple Heights pets (which only take barely half as long to raise, at 2870 points), with the difference being Airport Pets yield 200 XP instead of 10 Energy.
  • Precious Puppy: Finding one of these is the basis for one of Case 6's sub-quests; when the puppy's eventually found, Grace adopts him after learning that he ran away from his abusive owner, a dog-fighting promoter. More recently, too, a new option has been added to the game for your character to train a police dog, starting as a puppy, through regular feeding.
  • Puzzle Game: What the game is, overall. Besides the Hidden Object Game aspect, there are also some mini-games that take the form of forensic analyses and reassembling of destroyed clues, which give you a greater energy payout the faster you can solve them.
  • Qurac: Sultanistan, an oil-rich desert kingdom that is obviously based on the Middle East. Case 49 deals with the royal family of Sultanistan visiting Grimsborough, and the eventual tragedy that follows; while a particularly nasty immigration officer introduced in the Inner City is revealed to have migrated from Sultanistan herself.
  • Repeating so the Audience Can Hear: The Player Character supposedly makes a lot of remarks and suggestion during the investigation progress, but as they have no dialogue, their partners would repeat it for us instead. Usually goes something like, "What? You want to do X?" or "Oh, you think X is an important clue?"
  • Serial Killer: A lot. The district killers in Pacific Bay tends to have committed multiple murders before the being arrested at the end of the arc.
    • Margaret Littlewood holds the distinction of being the only murderer who killed more than 1 victim in a single case. The first victims were Molly Robinson and her dog, then followed by the murder of James Savage's husky, Gertude Picadilly's pug, and the attempted murder of Jones, though he didn't die.
    • The Rorschach Reaper, the Big Bad of the University arc, uses hypnotism to convince three students to kill their relatives/friends.
    • Erikah Mabayo from Bayou Bleu has killed several prostitutes working under her.
    • The Puppeteer from Jazz Town targets the parents of 14-year-olds who don't get along with their parents.
    • Duncan Young killed several young women as the Night Walker, before murdering Roberto Vasquez for knowing too much.
    • Similar to Erikah Mabayo, the Scarlet Slayer preys on prostitutes in Sinner's End.
    • The Rocket Cow Killer from Fairview targets parents who have strained relationships with their children by giving them Poisoned Rocket Cow to drink.
  • Scenery Porn: The various crime scenes are very expertly designed. Whether it's a car at the bottom of a river, or a spooky graveyard, or the balcony of a mansion, it's all well done.
  • Shout-Out: Oh, so very many, so much so that there's now a page for all of them.
  • Silent Snarker: The player character is a Heroic Mime, but judging how sometimes Jones (or Frank, in Pacific Bay), especially when he's annoyed or confused, said something like "Oh, I know that face, [player name]. Stop it.", it seems they are this as well.
  • Something We Forgot: Each mission has 3 main locations. Each location is used for 1) a general view, 2) a closer view, and 3) the general view used in a special way (which gives the total 9 scenarios). Type 2 scenarios are usually introduced when someone proposes to return to the crime scene and see if there are some further clues that were not noticed during the first check.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: In nearly every case, most of the suspects openly trash-talk the murder victims as if they never learned how to not speak ill of the dead.
  • Story Arc: The cities are divided into several districts, each of them focusing on different conflicts.
    • Grimsborough
      • An intense war for control of the Industrial Area is waged between the Vipers gang and the Skulls gang, while the mobster Tony Marconi takes part in the dispute.
      • Alden Greene is a business tycoon who owns several companies at the Financial Center, while reporter Rachel Priest searches for some news related to him.
      • The Historic Center covers Cases 22 to 31, and the core story is about the annual Grimsborough Dog Pageant (not as upfront as the other arcs, though, as the pageant gets mostly passing mentions up until Case 31, where it's the main focus).
      • The University covers Cases 32 to 41, and the core story is about the activities of the Rorschach Reaper.
      • Maple Heights covers Cases 42 through 51, and the core story is about Mayor Howard Johnson's re-election campaign.
      • The Airport covers Cases 52 through 56, which focuses on an ominous, ancient organization who is largely responsible for most of Grimsborough's criminal activity — the Crimson Order.
    • Pacific Bay
      • Ocean Shores encompasses the first five cases of Pacific Bay, and has no centralized plot and mostly deals with an introduction to the new team members, and briefly establishes their personalities.
      • Bayou Blue, a swamp district which covers Cases 6 to 10, deals with a voodoo craze that turns out to be a ruse created by a Serial Killer to consolidate power over the citizens.
      • Inner City, the home town of tech expert Hannah Choi, covers Cases 11 to 17, and the story focuses on the conflict between the Russian and Chinese communities, with an anarchist group called the Inner Chaos seeking to add fuel to the flame.
      • Jazz Town covers Cases 18 to 24, and deals with two distinct plot — one involving a man-made hurricane which has destroyed a large portion of the district and threatens to strike a second time and completely annihilate the town, and another involving the renewed activities of a Serial Killer called the Puppeteer — who had, in the past, murdered Yann Touissant's parents.
      • White Peaks, which covers Cases 25 to 30, is the home town of Amy Young and focuses on her family, her past and her Character Development as she and the player character tries to uncover the mysterious Urban Legend of the Night Walker.
      • Ivywood Hills covers Cases 31 to 38 and mainly focuses on a malevolent cult called The Utopians and their plans to control the district through brainwashing.
      • Rhine Canyon, covering Cases 39 through 45, focuses on a government plot and crazy alien landing conspiracies.
      • Innovation Valley, covering Cases 46 to 50, deals with human-like robots, their quest for rights, and the tension between them and humanity.
      • Paradise City, covering Cases 51 to 56, deals with a heist at the luxury Mennagio casino and the six heist members.
      • The Wastes, covering Cases 57 to 59, sees Amy and the player in pursuit of the fugitives from Paradise City, only to uncover a plot to destroy the whole of Pacific Bay.
    • World Edition
      • Europe deals with a secret organization and Europe being in a big crisis, which is believed to be the cult Brother Klaus belongs to.
      • The Bureau navigates through the Sahara Region to hunt down an assassin known as "The Sword", who had murdered Chief Ripley.
      • SOMBRA has infiltrated COSMORUS with a spy who will steal the information needed to build a satellite that can plunge the world in darkness and launch it. The Bureau goes through Eurasia to stop this from happening.
      • In South Asia, an unethical pharmaceutical company owned by SOMBRA have been taking advantage of the recent Earthquake and plagues to consolidate their power.
      • Orphaned children have been missing from East Asia, likely kidnapped by SOMBRA and recruited as their soldiers. The player must put an end to this operation and rescue the children from SOMBRA's brainwashing.
      • The Bureau heads to Oceania to find out more about the Next Level program, in which the missing children from the previous storyline get conditioned physically and mentally into becoming SOMBRA agents.
      • In returning to Africa, the entire Bureau almost got killed by an act of sabotage, and the culprit responsible is someone inside the Bureau.
      • South America sees the Bureau digging through history to learn more of SOMBRA's origins, and eventually find its leader, El Rey.
      • The Bureau finds themselves in the middle of an international struggle between North America (especially the US) and the rest of the world, and SOMBRA meddling from behind the scenes to start World War III.
    • Mysteries of the Past
      • The Player Character joins a wave of Irish immigrants in entering New Haven, in the City of Concordia. However, someone is planning to take advantage of these immigrants, and somehow a mysterious fire at the local police station seems connected to it...
      • The Flying Squad is looking into the identity of the enigmatic Mr. Alastor, whose numerous parties in and around Elysium Fields is always punctuated with murder.
      • The World Exhibition in Century Mile is being plagued by a saboteur tampering with various inventions.
      • A gang war is brewing between the Irish and Italians in the red light district known as Sinner's End, while a Serial Killer known as the "Scarlet Slayer" prowls the streets.
      • The Flying Squad try to take on the Italians who have basically conquered the entirety of Coyote Gorge.
      • Crimson Banks is home to Italians and Irish coexisting in peace, but the escalating gang war threatens that livelihood.
      • Several local businesses are ready to invest in a new company that promises to save Wolf Street from a financial crisis, but is there truth to the company itself?
      • In their pursuit of "The Devil", the Flying Squad try to make sense of the apparently supernatural happenings in Grim Chapel, while trying to discover the truth behind Gryphon Sanctuary.
      • The Rochesters are making their move to take over Concordia in Ivory Hill, the political center of the city.
      • At Capitol Peak, Concorida's newly inaugurated mayor plans to rid the city of all crime, with questionable methods.
    • The Conspiracy
      • Upon returning to Grimsborough, while the player reunites with friends and co-workers both old and new, he/she must also look into a stolen shipment of amlodipine that seems to be the Weapon of Choice of a Serial Killer in Fairview.
      • An earthquake has hit Grimsborough, having its epicenter in Money Mile, and the player must lend a hand in relief efforts while helping Jones in finding his girlfriend who’s gone missing during the disaster. Meanwhile, an artist is using the earthquake as the basis for her art.
      • As the player examines the circumstances of Zoe's disappearance and Marconi's related business in The Greens, Dream Life launches a new virtual reality program that obsesses over ...
      • The earthquake that damaged much of Money Mile has also unearthed the ruins of an ancient city called Xerda bellow the Old Town, and the PD must not only oversee its excavation, but also investigate a cult called The Higher Truth which claims to help people reach enlightenment while mainlining money to Dream Life.
      • A flood caused by the earthquakes in the previous districts has hit Maple Heights, bringing with it some deadly "Demon Fish" that someone released from Xerda when it was being excavated. Meanwhile, the team prepares to infiltrate the dome that Dream Life is using to protect the satellite that fell a year ago.
      • The Grimsborough PD investigates Dreamlife's dome housing the satellite in Misty Grove, discovering that it's actually a meteorite and being used to synthesize an unknown drug.
      • After arresting the founder of Dream Life in the previous district, the team seeks to uncover her past and find out her motives for founding her company, starting at Grimsborough University where she graduated. The district focuses on uncovering the truth about Ad Astra, a study group that she founded during her time there.
      • The Grimsborough PD are seeking the identity of Fornax in Spring Fields, an Ad Astra member who is in on Dream Life's plans and may have received a shipment of the drugs they were synthesizing two districts prior.
      • The fight to bring down Ad Astra continues as the Grimsborough PD goes to the Airport to try to find out what's behind "Plan Supernova".
      • The police, in pursuit of Ad Astra, heads to Newmark and must also discover the identity of the "puppeteer" who's been pulling the strings on everyone in the season.
    • Travel in Time
      • T.I.M.E. must deal with history changing after a rogue time traveler disrupts things in Ancient Egypt, and prevent the Roman Empire's conquests during Ancient Times from sparking a massive war. Meanwhile, an Egyptian slave sneaks on board the time machine, leaving the team to decide what to do with her.
      • The team's time machine gets sabotaged, stranding them in the United States during the 1969, where they must find a way to travel back to their own time. Meanwhile, they also have to deal with tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union which arose because of the Cold War over The 1960s.
      • After finding pages missing from Leonardo Da Vinci's time travel manuscript, the team travels to the Renaissance to seek help from Da Vinci himself and fix the time machine, and is accompanied by him for most of the district.
      • The team travels back to New York City in 2029, only to realize that things are vastly different due to several alterations in the timeline, and are now in an Altered Present. The team aligns with the local resistance against the current regime to get their time machine back and set things right. Meanwhile, Orlando must deal with his emotions after finding his deceased husband alive and well in this timeline, but with no knowledge of who he is.
      • The main characters travel to the Age of Sail, which they had pinpointed as the start of Egypt's rise to power. They join forces with English Pirates to head to an auction and reclaim the trade routes while trying to stay off Ammon Bast's radar.
      • After losing the auction at Tortuga, Ammon Bast travels to Medieval Asia to manipulate both Mongol and Chinese empires into war and seize the outcome of this conflict to ascend the Ptolemy Dynasty to power. The team follows Ammon to prevent the success of his buckup plan.
      • The team's misfortunes come to The End when they return to 47 BC to prevent sabotage of the time machine and to restore the original timeline.
    • Supernatural Investigations
      • The Supernatural Hunters cross the West in search of a vampire who seeks to create an invincible elixir.
      • An evil force has drained the life force of both cattle and land in the Southwest, leaving a trace of sulfur on the bodies of animals. Meanwhile, a series of killings involving tarot cards occur.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Some killers from all throughout the game have some rather sad reasons for committing their crimes. Such as Case 6's killer, an honest cop, who was forced to kill his corrupt partner in self-defense after failing to convince him to turn from his evil ways, and Case 28's killer, a bereaved mother who murdered her husband because his negligence had caused the death of their infant child and he'd tried to cover it up.
  • Timed Mission: Each level has a mini-game in which you have to find as many hidden objects as possible before the timer runs out. When the mini-game's level-stars for that level are maxed out at five, the amount of time you are given is maxed out at 80 seconds.
  • Take Your Time: More often than not, each Chapter (except Chapter 3) in some Cases would end with a cliff-hanger, but the player can spend as much time delaying the start of the next chapter (collecting stars, going back to a previous case, etc.). Within the chapters themselves, some situations are supposed to give you a sense of urgency (ex.: trying to find the killer in "Dog Eat Dog" while Jones' life is on the line); no matter how fast the player finds and fixes a clue, there are those analysis times right afterward...
  • The Un-Reveal: In some chapters, one of the suspects suddenly confesses their guilt or someone says that they have found the criminal. You need some stars to open the next part of the chapter, and then find out that the crime won't be solved that early (for example, if a member of the team announced that they know the identity of the criminal, it will be just an over-the-top way to announce another new clue).
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: There are many objects that are quite out-of-place in certain scenes, yet they are unrelated with the case at all. Not even Jones or other characters will say anything about it. For example in the second crime scene of the first case, you can find a puma hanging out above a roof of a house.
  • Urban Legends:
    • Grimsborough has two.
      • In Case 25, there's the local story of the "Mad Pilgrim." According to the story, the eponymous character was a cruel man who lived during the 17th century and sent many people to the gallows for the smallest offenses; eventually the Pilgrim's maid poisoned his food and then let the residents in to chop his body to pieces and bury the parts in the four corners of town. Since then, says the legend, the Pilgrim's spirit has remained trapped and very angry on Earth, and anyone who's tried to paint his portrait since then is reported to have died in the attempt. The story comes up because the case's victim died while painting a picture of the Pilgrim, and the scene was set up to appear as though the Pilgrim's ghost came back for revenge.
      • In Case 27, there's the Creature of the Lake, whose mournful wail in the dead of night allegedly lures people to the lake to drown.
    • Pacific Bay has a couple as well.
      • The Night Walker, a Slenderman Shout-Out, is said to haunt the forest of White Peaks and causing a number of disappearances throughout the years.
  • Victim of the Week: The main recurring theme of this game. Each week a different person gets murdered and you have to find their killer.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: You can make your character avatar male or female, and adjust their hair, facial expression, and clothing as you see fit. Some hairstyles, facial expressions, and clothing accessories can be unlocked when you level up to a certain extent, some have to be purchased with in-game coins (which you earn from each crime scene you investigate), and others are gained as rewards for finishing the side-quests associated with each case.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Case 51. Chief King is revealed to be the case's killer, and kills himself after being found out. This permanently changes GPD's team configuration, and changes the usual case formula of having him introduce the chapter to the player.
    • Case 84 (or Case 28 of Pacific Bay). Bobby Prince is convicted as the killer, when almost everyone expects him to play a significant role in the district's final case.
    • Case 112 (Case 56 Pacific Bay) has half of your team members flagged as suspect, eventually culminating in Frank Knight, one of the player's partners, being convicted the district killer. During the trial -his ex-wife arrives and helped him escape arrest, perhaps marking the very first time in Criminal Case history where the killer remains a fugitive by the end of the episode.
    • Case 58 of Pacific Bay is full of this. Karen Knight is found murdered, and the killer is none other than Alden Greene, who escaped prison in Grimsborough and made it into Pacific Bay. Right before the player arrests Alden, Frank kills him and reveals the reason Karen wanted the plutonium in the first place. Right after that, Albert Tesla's interface is revealed to have created Pacific Bay as an experiment, and is perfectly willing to destroy it for the same reason.
    • Case 6 in World Edition. The player character had just successfully thwarted the Prometheans' plan to take over Europe and the team was celebrating their achievement. Suddenly, Chief Ripley was shot with a poisoned arrow and died.
    • Case 12 of World Edition, and how. After Ambassador's Stern's son is kidnapped, he is taken to war-torn Iraq where the player and Carmen find a nomadic tribe leader dead by The Sword's hands. After finding Andrew Stern, things start going downhill for the team; Jack is incapacitated by Asal Hawaa, Dupont is poisoned by The Sword, Benjamin Scott turns extremist briefly, and Marina is accidentally taken hostage by Jonah Karam. When the team finally find out who The Sword is, he tries to kill Carmen and the player too...until Jonah saves them by shooting him in the head. Jonah is awarded a place in the Bureau for his merits by none other than Chief Ripley, who faked her own death to manipulate SOMBRA. And it all ends with Marina's mother sending the team a secret video to come to Russia. The "Holy Shit!" Quotient in this episode is through the roof.
  • Who Murdered the Asshole?: Many of the murder victims were not well-liked by a number of the people they associated with because, quite simply, they were douches. For example, Case 7's victim was a crooked building contractor who tore down a church to erect a new building project on the land, an act that earned him a lot of anger from other people; while Case 29's victim was a perpetual drunk who stole money from the Scouts he led and also beat up his girlfriend. In particular, The Rorschach Reaper gets killed about twenty cases after being imprisoned; the judge says the individual, while a monster, still deserves justice for being killed. This does not abate even in Pacific Bay, particularly in Case 5, where the victim tormented a street performer and tried to get passers-by not to pay him, tried to ruin the social life of a lifeguard, and tormented a waitress until she cried. Her motive for all of these actions was pure spite. Ironically, none of them murdered her.
  • Your Size May Vary: It's not very obvious since none of the characters are ever shown in their full size, but the heights does seem inconsistent. For example, in dialogue scenes, everyone is drawn at the same level, but the police lineup clearly shows (most of) the suspects to stand at differing heights. Also, all mugshot images have the exact same background lines, which puts every single suspects at 6' tall, even though that is very obviously not the case.

    Grimsborough arc 
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Lydia Holly is this to Jones during one of Case 8's side-quests, where she requests that you find her binoculars that she'd accidentally dropped in the alleyway, and that she now wants a "handsome policeman" to retrieve for her, hence her calling the two of you.
    Jones: (nervously) (player's name) and I will find them fast. Like, really, really fast, right, (player's name)?
  • A God Am I: Milton Grimmes declares himself "Grimsborough's God" when he becomes exposed as the leader of The Crimson Order:
    Milton Grimmes: Gold has given the Crimson Order unlimited power! As its leader, I get to choose who lives and who dies in this town. I am Grimsborough's God!
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Of all people, The Rorschach Reaper somewhat gets this treatment. It's a complicated example, too, as she can also be seen as Asshole Victim given that she's a Serial Killer. But after the team discovered why she's killed, that she attempted to seek the truth about her ancestor's death and indirectly exposed the Crimson Order who responsible for said ancestor's death, she becomes less of an asshole. Even her sister who initially openly hated her for being a killer later admits that she does feel sad over her death.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Rose Cassidy paid no mind to Big Baby's love confession, since she was already in love with Chad Whickman. Trixie was also murdered because she rejected an admirer.
  • Amoral Attorney: At the end of Case 15, one of these, Gerald Young, comes forward to represent the killer and appeal the sentence, arguing that the case against his client has irregularities. Fortunately, Judge Hall throws out the appeal and upholds the killer's sentence.
  • And I Must Scream: The victims in Cases 19 and 32 were both unconscious at the time they were put into the situations that resulted in their deaths. Case 19's victim was buried in concrete, which got into her airway and filled her throat while it was being poured into the pit where she was later found; Case 32's victim was put near an anthill and the ants got into her nose and mouth and constricted her breathing.
  • Animal Motif: Guess what the Vipers' motif is.
  • Arc Words: "The right thing," during the University arc.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: The murderer in Case #40 is willing to kill just to make sure that her lesbian relationship remains hidden
  • Artistic License – Law: Even after being sentenced to life imprisonment at the end of Case 21, Alden Greene is somehow able to post bail and appear as a suspect in a later case in the Maple Heights arc. Bail is only payable before the defendant's trial begins, and then it's only a guarantee that the defendant will actually show up for the trial; once sentence has been passed, bail is irrelevant, and if the sentence is a custodial one (i.e. one that includes jail time), the defendant can't pay bail to be released from prison. In this particular case, it's probably to show that the individual is just that much monied and well-connected.
  • Bag of Holding: In Case 3, you and Jones have to search the victim's book-bag for clues. The bag, which itself counts as a hidden-items crime scene, contains all manner of stuff, although admittedly only three sections of the bag are shown open. The items include: a sheriff's badge, a bar of chocolate, a spray-paint can, a six-sided die, a pen, a coin, a knife, a wad of cash, an envelope, a lollipop, a toothbrush, a baseball, a pair of scissors, a hamburger, a cellular phone, a paint-tube, a spoon, a bottle, a table-tennis racket, a letter-opener, a knuckle-duster, a pack of chewing gum, a purse with cosmetics, a watch, a notebook, a know what, just look here.
  • The Bartender: Alice August is the barmaid for Tony Marconi's nightclub in Case 8.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Jones remarked that the victim of Case 43 still looks "dashingly handsome" even after being cut in half.
  • Beauty Mark: Ginger the prostitute has one on the left side of her face, just near her mouth.
  • Berserk Button:
    • The Greene Bank, and its owner Alden Greene, act as this for Shaun Crosby in Case 13, because they reportedly increased the interest on the loans that were made out by individuals in his father's market district when the residents refused to accept a buyout from the bank. One bank employee recalls that Shaun once flung a garbage can through one of their windows in a rage over the matter.
    • Do not, under any circumstances, eat food over any of librarian Constance Bell's books, or even worse, LEAVE FOOD STAINS ON THEM, if you want to keep her from going ballistic.
  • Big Bad: Milton Grimmes, the leader of the Crimson Order, controls Grimsborough from behind the shadows and their illicit activities are responsible for most of the deaths the player had to investigate throughout the first season.
  • Blackmail Backfire: Adam Bentley was trying to live as a Maple Heights socialite, but he wasn't old money and was running out of cash and connections. Then he discovered The Crimson Order's illegal gold mining operation and tried to blackmail them to pay him to keep quiet. The Order forced Chief King to execute him instead.
  • Blood-Splattered Innocents: The victim of Case 41 was killed using an exploding tiara while being crowned Prom Queen, and her blood splashed all over her boyfriend, who was the prom king.
  • Body Horror: In Case 21. Rachel was injected with an experimental Super Soldier serum, which caused her bones to grow to exponential size. However, since the serum was intended for men, it caused her body to be torn apart from the inside.
  • Body in a Breadbox: Corpses can be found in some...weird places. As an early example, Case 3's victim was found hanging on a hook in a butcher's warehouse.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Case 51's victim got a bullet right between the eyes.
  • Break the Cutie: Sarah Mills, an 8-years-old girl from Case #40. First, her nanny is murdered. Then, we've also found out her parents are emotionally abusive. For starter, her mother can get easily mad for her freaking Teddy Bear doll. She gets better in the end, though.
  • Broken Pedestal: Case 6's victim was a known member of the Grimsborough PD, whom the team later finds out to have been corrupt. His partner, and apparently former mentee, had looked up to him, but ended up accidentally killing him after the victim refused to change his ways.
  • Captain Ersatz: Kevin Parker, the comic book store owner, of Jeff "Comic Book Guy" Albertson from The Simpsons.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Joey Manzano, according to club owner Nina Hunt.
    Nina: He spent the night using my waitresses' notepads to give his number to women!
  • Chekhov's Gun: The inkblot test which appears several time as an inconspicuous non-clue in various crime scenes of the University District is later revealed to be a part of the Roscharch Reaper's MO.
  • Consummate Liar: Mikhail Levin. Jones tried to interrogate him using a lie detector, and asked hundreds of questions, but only managed to get 2 straight answers from him.
    Jones: I'll give him this: he sure knows how to lie!
  • The Corrupter: The Rorschach Reaper uses hypnosis and psychologically-specific speeches on selected targets and prompts them to murder people they've got a particular beef with. However, the Reaper later claims that this is More Than Mind Control, since the affected parties in question always had it in them to murder. The Reaper also manages to do this with Jones in an attempt to kill your player character.
  • Crapsack World: Every level you play has a murder as the main mystery for you to solve. Plus there's a lot of gang warfare and mob rivalry going on in Grimsborough, at least one Dirty Cop has affected the Grimsborough P.D., and the rich care more about their money and status than about the feelings or welfare of others.
  • Crazy Homeless People: Linda Lovara. She's a fundamentalist Christian, she lives in an abandoned car park, she's known to get violent when high on a mixture of alcohol and prescription pills, she had a therapist who encouraged her craziness...
  • Cut Himself Shaving: In Case 5, Dimitri Balanchine gives exactly this explanation for the scars on the side of his face when you and Jones question him in relation to the case.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Elvira Milton, the gothic girl from Case #26. She is the friendliest and most cooperative suspect in said case. She's also appreciative on Alex Turner's fanboying her grandfather.
  • Dean Bitterman: Donna Walker, the dean of Grimsborough University, is revealed to have a special hatred for the members of the school's Psi Sigma Gamma sorority, including its president Madison Springer, all of whom she classes as narcissists and opportunists who only exist to crush others and be congratulated for it; in Madison's case, Ms. Walker gave her multiple notices for sneaking out of the dorm at night. As it turns out, Ms. Walker's hatred stems from an incident in her past, back when she was a student at the university—she was the victim of hazing by the members of the sorority at the time, which consisted of forcing her to drink excessive amounts of alcohol that resulted in her being in a coma for four days. What especially angered her was that the dean at the time did nothing to punish the sorority members for the incident.
  • Death from Above: Case 22's victim, a stage actor, had a sandbag dropped on his head. Case 28's victim died a similar death, only in his case the item was a chandelier.
  • Delayed "Oh, Crap!": Jones has one in Case 13, when you and he find a bomb hidden in a car trunk.
    Jones: Here it is! We found the bomb, we...HOLY SH*T, we found the bomb!
  • Dead Guy on Display: How several of the victims' bodies are found, but Cases 14, 24 and 36 in particular play it very straight—Case 14's victim is put on display in her clothing store and another character mistakes her for a realistic mannequin; Case 24's victim was cut open, stuffed, and put on display in a museum; and Case 36's victim was run through with a pitchfork and then disguised as a scarecrow.
  • Dies Wide Open: Case 51's victim, who was shot in the head, has his eyes open when he's presented in his body-bag.
  • Dirty Cop: Case 6's victim, Ed Dunkin, is known to visit hookers and bet on dogfights, among other things.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Case 12's victim, a stockbroker, constantly bragged about a new deal he'd made with the wealthy Alden Greene. His rival's response? Disembowel him and hang him up on display.
    • Also, Case 39's killer killed the victim just because he was cheating on his test.
  • Dominatrix: Jezabela, who runs the eponymous "Jezabela's Dungeon" and who even wields a riding crop in her avatar picture. She's also implied to have had some...kinky history with Jones, which he's not too eager to delve into.
  • The Don:
    • Anton Levin, the victim in Case 5, was the head of the local Russian mafiya.
    • There's also Tony Marconi, the leader of a Mafia group, whom the police never managed to arrest until the Player Character comes along.
  • Down in the Dumps: One case has you visiting a suspect in the local slum district, while a few others force you to scrounge through the sewers for clues.
  • Dueling Hackers: A non-malicious one occurs in Case 33, in which Alex tried to hack into a suspect's online profile, only to be counter-hacked by The @rtist. The latter reveals that she was only trying to get the police's attention so that she could assist the team.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Jones comes to see the Greene family as this in Case 15, as they don't seem to be particularly affected by the murder of their matriarch, and are more concerned about the possible scandal her death may cause.
    Jones: Okay, seriously, what is WRONG with the Greene family? They all sound like cold-hearted monsters!
    • The Mills family from Case 40 is also this. Both parents are struggling with marital problems and act emotionally abusive towards their daughter Sarah, who looks up to her au pair. They get better in the Additional Investigation.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Jones is the sole partner of the entire season, with Alex and Grace replacing him in Case 37 and 48 respectively. From Season 2 onward, there are two partners each.
    • Characters tend to swear several times, although usually censored, which would eventually become non-existent after Season 2.
    • Up until the Airport district, none of the Additional Investigations seem to have much bearing on the plot; they mostly revolve around checking up on the other suspects, usually to help them find an item they are missing or catch them doing something shady. Even plot-lines such as Alden Greene's activity and the Rorschach test murders are relegated to the main case rather than the AI. Contrast this with the latter half of Season 2 and Season 3 onwards, where the AI tends to focus on either the underlying plot of the season or on the villains of the district.
      • In addition, AI photos tend to show pictures of the suspects interrogated in them, which would slowly be phased out with artwork during Season 2 and 3.
    • Suspect interrogations are generally much shorter and nowhere near as detailed as later seasons, with Jones often judging the suspects' characters after grilling them.
    • In stark contrast to later seasons, there are very little LGBT characters beyond minor suspects, with same-sex relationships being shown in a negative light. For example, both Case 8 and 40 have lesbians as the killers, the former being a Psycho Lesbian who killed a straight woman she had feelings for, while the latter killed her lover to keep their tryst a secret.
    • A few of the earlier cases of the season have a suspect's profile clues being found out in Chapter 1. This was later changed so profile clues are relegated to Chapters 2 and 3.
  • Eccentric Millionaire: Archibald Ashworth from Maple Heights is a weird old patriarch who loves his bees more than anything else. When told that his grandson had been brutally murdered, Archibald's reaction was very nonchalant, and even glad that there's less of his greedy relatives trying to fight over his riches; but when one of his bees died, he went completely berserk.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Although Tony Marconi is a mob boss, and is suspected in orchestrating a number of crimes, in Case 8 he flatly tells Jones that he would never beat a defenseless woman to death with a hammer, especially if she was one of his strippers and was profitable to him. This becomes his motive in killing Salvador Cordero, who was caught attacking Ginger, a hooker who works for Marconi.
    Marconi: You don't hit women. You just don't...
    • Troy Cassidy, the leader of the Skulls, makes it clear to the police in Case 9 that, although Chad Whickman was a former Viper, he wouldn't have killed Chad since he knew his sister Rose was in love with the victim.
    Troy: I'd never hurt my lil' sista like that. Family before honor, that's the Skulls way.
  • Evil Redhead: Well, Bulldog's got red hair, and drug dealers aren't normally classed as law-abiding citizens...
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Kelly Speltz, one of the suspects in Case 21. She's been known to perform illegal experiments on animals which she claims will make humanity better than it is now and she also created the serum that killed Rachel Priest.
    Speltz: People don't recognize my genius often enough. They call my work inhumane and try to have me shut down. Such as that rotten reporter, Rachel Priest. She even tried to have me stop experimenting on animals! I don't even know what she's talking about! My latest guard dog has survived every single experiment so far. No, people like Rachel don't realize I'm doing the work of God: I'm trying to create a new better, stronger humanity!
  • Eye Scream: Freddy Stewart, the victim in Case 18, was shot in the left eye with a crossbow.
  • Fat Bastard: Odell Toole is the heaviest killer in the game.note  Weighing in at 298 pounds.
  • Finger in the Mail:
    Mrs. Carter: (in hysterics) They gave me my daughter's heart so I would EAT it!!!
    • Case 20 kicks off when you and Jones receive a severed finger in a package.
  • Fishing for Sole: In Case 43, the unfortunate Jones discovers the victim this way.
  • Flat Character: Rosa Wolfe, the victim in Case 1's Justified Tutorial, and Matt Barry, her killer. The only thing we know about either of them is that Matt is a football player, but other than that, nothing.
  • Foreign Cussword: In "A Russian Case", Anton's son Mikhail called his late father a "svoloch", which is Russian for "bastard".
  • Frameup: Colin Stokes, the Stalker with a Crush in Case 8, accuses you and Jones of "planting" Trixie Velvet's necklace in his studio to set him up as the one responsible for her murder.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Case 48's victim was shot through the ribs with a hair-removal laser.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • Case 14's killer deliberately sought to invoke this, since he wanted to be remembered as more than just an ordinary guy.
    "Oh, here comes Odell with his cleaning trolley, haha, he's so poor." Now look who's laughing!]]
    • Adam Bentley, an uprising socialite whose background is completely unknown, and has befriended several rich and powerful individuals, most of whom ended up dead. Chief King is particularly wary of him, especially since he's starting to get a little too close to the mayor.
    Chief King: This conman has managed to fool the mayor! A perfect stranger of whom we know virtually nothing about has been gravitating around the most important person in this town!
    • Later subverted, as it turns out that Adam is just a former Foster Kid who changed his identity to fit in the glamorous community of Maple Heights, and nobody there actually takes him seriously.
  • Frozen Face: Case 33's victim was found with a hideous grin on his face.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Ramirez' frying pan is much more useful than his gun. He even saved the Player Character's life twice with it. The first one he used to knock out a mind-controlled Jones, the second one he used to distract the Crimson Order's Leader.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: We learn Jones' middle name (Jeremiah) in case 35, thanks to a furious Grace who's angry at him because her fiance is a suspect in the case.
  • Gang of Hats: The Vipers and the Skulls. The former gang's members all wear blue and have tattoos of a snake somewhere on their person; the latter gang's members all wear red and carry tattoos of a flaming skull.
  • Genius Bruiser: Chad Baker, a recurring character in the University arc, is introduced as a quarterback understudy for Grimsborough's local football team, the Quails. He's also revealed to be a student at Grimsborough University, and is knowledgeable in electronics.
  • Geographic Flexibility: It's never stated where exactly Grimsborough is supposed to be, but it's got all manner of elements that are just convenient for whatever the plot of a given case requires. For example, one case in the Maple Heights arc has a bridge as one of the scenes with hidden items to find; the bridge itself is a clear expy of the Golden Gate Bridge, which would mean Grimsborough is a stand-in for San Francisco, or is at least located somewhere in the state of California. On the other hand, Grimsborough has only one university to its name, whereas San Franciso proper has several such institutes of learning. As well, the design for Grimsborough's City Hall (seen only in cutscenes) is clearly based on the White House, which is located in Washington, DC, and Grimsborough has an Amish community that's introduced during Case 36, but California's not on the list of U.S. states with significant Amish populations.
  • Going for the Big Scoop: Rachel Priest is at this for most of the Financial Center arc, digging around to find any major dirt on Alden Greene.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: The victim in Case 11 had his skull cracked when a bottle was smashed over his head.
  • Harmful to Minors: Isaac Hersberger, an 8-years-old Amish boy, witnessed the whole murder in Case #36. It's even worse when you found who the murderer is.
  • Haunted House: Hector Fernandez's house, in Case 28, was purported to be one of these after his infant son died under mysterious circumstances there. It was a lie he made up to cover up his negligence, and his wife didn't take it well when she found out.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Troy Cassidy quits gang life to become an inventor, after you return a motorcycle blueprint to him during a side-quest in Case 11.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Ginger, a prostitute in Tony Marconi's employ and an old friend of Jones's.
  • Humans Are Bastards: The Rorschach Reaper believes this, even expounding on this after finally being caught and put on trial.
    Rorschach Reaper: A murderer sleeps in every one of us, your honor!
  • Hypocrite: The murderer in Case #36, an Amish citizen, claimed that murdering people is against the Amish rules.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: During one side-quest, a former suspect rages about how Officer Ramirez misplaced some information on the location of the hospital where his wife is expected to be giving birth. Jones tears into the man immediately, telling him to be careful how he talks about Ramirez because the beat cop is an essential part of the force...despite how Jones himself has insulted Ramirez's incompetence multiple times before.
    Jones: (chagrined) I can't believe I just took Ramirez's defense. Oh, stop laughing, (player's name)!
  • Hypocritical Humor: One suspect in Case 53 complained about her ex-husband's bad breath. After the conversation, Jones complained that she too has bad breath.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: The killer's Motive Rant in Case 38 includes this, word for word. So does the killer's explanation to Judge Hall in Case 42.
  • I Have No Son!: Anton Levin, the victim in Case 5, did not have a good relationship with his son Mikhail; so much so, in fact, that he had already disowned the younger man prior to the start of the case. However, when interrogated, Mikhail claims that he didn't care about being disowned, since he had already come to hate his father anyway.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Jones gets Case 10's murderer to incriminate himself this way.
    Jones: You're under arrest for the murder of Alan Cardwell!
    Killer: Based on what, exactly? You've got nothing against me!
    Jones: I bet you won't look so smug when we show the court the fingerprints we found on the murder weapon.
    Killer: You lie! There weren't any prints on that candlestick.
    Jones: Good job, you caught my bluff. But how did you know the murder weapon was a candlestick? Nobody but us knew that fact.
  • I Read It for the Articles: In Case 8, Jones uses a variation of this as his excuse for how he knows the murder victim was a stripper at Marconi's night-club.
    Jones: What? I used to go there for the music!
  • Identical Grandson: When the Crimson Order's existence became known, we are introduced to several minor characters who were involved in the organizations' activities during their first establishment 400 years ago, and most of them looks exactly the same as their descendants, but with differing outfits. For example, one of the suspects in Case 54, Kirk De Haan is just a modern version of his ancestor, Geert De Haan, in a suit and cowboy hat.
  • Idiot Ball: Ramirez frequently mishandles evidence due to his bumbling attitude and general clumsiness, much to Jones' exasperation.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Case 20's killer admits to having ate the victim's liver after torturing and killing him.
    Killer: There is nothing like human liver to enhance the taste of caviar...
  • Ironic Echo: Madison Springer compared the Prom Ball to a gum bubble. Shortly after she was crowned Prom Queen, her head exploded when a bomb rigged to her tiara detonated.
    Madison Springer: This competition, it's all just like... (blows a gum bubble and pops it) a gum bubble! Inflated one moment, and blown to smithereens the next!
  • Justified Tutorial: The game's first case serves as this, with Jones as the tutor.
  • The Informant: Bart Williams. Jones has little tolerance or patience for him, but his information is always valuable.
  • Ironic Episode Title: Case 53 is titled "Burying the Hatchet". The victim was killed by an Aloki Indian who sought to avenge her ex-husband's ancestor, whose betrothed was stolen by the victim's ancestor.
  • It's All About Me: What Case 8's Motive Rant basically boils down to, when the reason for Trixie's murder is revealed.
    Killer: I got...I got so ANGRY, you know? How could she lie to me? How could she REJECT me?!
  • It's Up to You: Deliberately invoked by Jones concerning you, several times, when he presses you to investigate certain crime scenes that he'd rather not get involved with himself (though he winds up accompanying you anyway). Played for comedy a lot of times, such as when you have to investigate a sewer to find critical clues to aid your investigation.
  • Jerk Jock: Chad Baker comes across this way, especially during Case 38, where he claims not to care about girls who don't care about football. He gets Character Development as the arc goes on, though.
  • Karma Houdini: During the bonus investigation part of "A Russian Case", Jones hopes to shut Dimitri Balanchine's restaurant down for food poisoning, only for the food samples to be clean, with Jones showing resentment that Dimitri's restaurant passed the surprise health inspection.
  • Kick the Dog: Vanessa Carter, the victim's mother in Case 3, is already drowning in grief over her daughter's murder when she discovers that her daughter's heart has been packaged together with some meat she'd bought sometime after the killing. The killer intended for her to eat her own daughter's heart.
  • Kill It with Fire: Salvador Cordero, the Vipers' leader, likes to kill people by dousing them in gasoline and setting them on fire. Incidentally, Case 9's murder was the result of the victim, Chad Whickman, being killed exactly this way.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Happens to Case 41's victim moments after being crowned Prom Queen.
    Victim: I can't believe it, it's the happiest day of my lif— (tiara suddenly explodes and blows her head off)
  • The Killer Was Left-Handed: You make this discovery about the killer in Case 4. Three of that case's suspects are left-handed.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Four are shown in Case 8: Lydia Holly, Alice August, Colin Stokes, and—surprisingly—Tony Marconi.
  • King of the Homeless: One-tooth Sam, the "mayor" of Cooperville, Grimsborough's shantytown district.
  • Living a Double Life: Madison Springer, the popular cheerleader and head of the Psi Sigma Gamma Sorority, Madison Springer, is revealed to be an Amish.
  • Loophole Abuse: In Case 11, Marconi files a restraining order forbidding Jones to come near him or his club. What does Jones do? He sends you and Ramirez to Marconi instead, since the terms of the restraining order only explicitly speak to Jones.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch:
    • Madison Springer in the University arc started as a stereotypical Alpha Bitch with some shades of Bitch in Sheep's Clothing since Jones didn't like her not-so-innocent smile, making her look like a Stepford Smiler as well somehow. However, after we later find out she was born from an Amish family, she becomes nicer and Jones admit he shouldn't judge her by her appearance and there's more to her that most people don't know about. And then she died in the arc finale.
    • Lola Vallez, a glamoured celebrity in Maple Heights. Most of her bitchiness is also stereotypical of young adult actresses. But she's also kind and cooperative in any investigation she's involved in. She's also appreciative of Ramirez's Celebrity Crush on her, although at first she found him weird and creepy.
  • Lovable Jock: Chad Baker, the Grimsborough University football player from the University arc. He is aloof and stoic, although still cooperative, in his first appearance. In his next appearance, he is more friendly to Jones and the player character. He also genuinely loves Madison, although perhaps because of Madison's Amish lineage, she never admitted that she loved him, too.
  • Love Confession: Big Baby, a member of the Vipers, sent a letter confessing his affection for Rose, the sister of the Skulls' leader Troy Cassidy; however, Rose ignored the letter. Also, Alice August murdered Trixie for rejecting her confession.
  • Love Triangle: The motive for several of the murders in the game. Case 3's victim was sleeping with the killer's boyfriend, and the girlfriend in question did not take it well. Anton Levin was sleeping with and impregnated his son's girlfriend. Case 10's victim, a married man, was killed by one of his mistress's lover's jealous fling.
  • Mad Bomber: The killer in Case 13 offs the victim with an explosive, then plants a few more around Grimsborough, sending the police force into a panic. One bomb is even deliberately rigged not to go off when its timer runs out, as a way of taunting the cops though Alex later discovers that you would've gotten blown up if you HAD tried to disarm that bomb.
  • Magical Computer: The @rtist is able to halt Alex's hacking into a local online networking site to see the victim's account in Case 33, but only does so because, as explained to the team, the police's software is too obvious on the site's network.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Case 49's killer attempts this by frightening a horse with an explosive and a beehive in its stall, resulting in the horse rearing up and smashing the victim's skull with its hooves.
  • Mama Bear: Gloria Fernandez dropped a chandelier on her husband Hector after his negligence caused their child's death a few days earlier.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The Rorschach Reaper manipulated the killers in Cases 32, 35 and 38, but later claims it was More Than Mind Control.
  • Mental Time Travel: Once an Episode in the Airport arc, the player and Jones use "Aloki magic" to visit certain events in the past that somehow tie into the case.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: James Savage, a hunter who lives alone with his dog in the woods and is a supporting character during the Historical Center arc. He's considered very creepy by the locals, and he'll chase you off with a shotgun if you come on his property uninvited, but he genuinely cares for animals and is willing to be civil to your player character and Jones.
  • The Mob Boss Is Scarier: Comes up twice so far.
    • Ash Bison explains to you and Jones that he would never go against Tony Marconi because people who do end up dead.
    • Susan Huckabee killed her brother Stuart in order to protect her family from The Crimson Order. She's given the chance to get a reduced sentence if she'll testify against them, but she flat out refuses because she's more afraid of what the Order will do to her family than she is of a life sentence.
  • Mock Millionaire: Implied to be the case with Adam Bentley. He's not exactly penniless, but he definitely isn't as rich as the society of Maple Heights require him to be, and is revealed to have owed money from various locals because he couldn't afford the lifestyle.
  • Murder by Mistake: In Case 17 (The Last Supper), the victim was poisoned by a chef who actually intended to kill a food critic who has ruined her restaurant's business, but the waiter delivered the food to the wrong table.
  • My Beloved Smother: Daniel Taylor, Case 23's victim, had an aunt who, when you and Jones meet her, proves to be...demanding.
    Victoria Taylor: Daniel always said he wanted to see the world, to "escape". Escape his duties, more like! My health is troubling me; all I asked was that he be there in case of trouble. But he could never be bothered! He said his "job" is taking up his time. Ha! As if waiting tables at the tea parlor could ever last till 10pm, like last night!
    Jones: (afterward) Well, (player's name), I can't really blame Daniel for wanting to escape his aunt's house! Living with her can't have been easy everyday!
  • Nerd: How Jones classifies Bart Williams and Alex after discovering that both of them obsess over a particular limited-edition doll—sorry, "action figure."
    Jones: Nerds...nerds everywhere...
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Tess Goodwin, one of several recurring characters during the University arc, is this in spades. Compare her usual look with her look as a cosplayer and her appearance for the prom.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Rachel Priest is an amoral news reporter, more interested in digging up dirt on people and finding the next big scoop than in the welfare of her cameramen and other assistants. As soon as she is killed, she's talked up like she was practically a saint.
  • Noodle Incident: Jezabela and Jones are hinted to have some history together...and she almost blabs about their past as a way of blackmailing him into finding a lost item of hers during one of Case 20's side-quests.
    Jones: Jezabela, we're police, not your personal Lost and Found service!
    Jezabela: Now, Jones, I've known you to be more...cooperative. Do you remember when—
    Jones: (a bit too quickly) But I guess this time we can make an exception!!!
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Ramirez is hilariously treated this way by Jones in Case #17, although Jones immediately dropped this as soon as Ramirez suggested him to investigate a restaurant.
    Ramirez: Hey! I want to brainstorm too! I read the statement of her husband and-
    Jones: Ramirez, this is a grown-up discussion. Don't you have some parking tickets to fill?
    Ramirez: Hey, I can be useful! I did my own research and the posh resaurant Gabriel and Daisy usually went to for lunch is called "Chez Valentine".
    Jones: ...! Chez Valentine! I've always wanted to go there, now at least I've got a reason to take a look at their kitchen!
  • Not So Different: In Case 11, Tony Marconi says this of himself and Jones on being arrested for Salvador Cordero's murder, which he committed to stop Salvador from raping Ginger. Jones begs to differ.
    Marconi: You know, Jones, you and I, we're alike: we both do whatever it takes to protect our community.
    Jones: You've got it all wrong, Marconi: you think you're above the law, and I'm here to remind you the law is above EVERYBODY!
  • Only Bad Guys Call Their Lawyers: In Case 11, Jones tries to argue this after being told that Tony Marconi's lawyers have filed a restraining order against him. Chief King isn't having it.
    Chief King: ENOUGH! He's legally allowed to do so and even I understand him: you've let your personal hatred for Marconi dictate your actions and you pushed it too far! Jones, from now on you stay well away from Marconi and his club or you'll be put on leave, you hear?
  • Overprotective Dad: Alcott Milton is this for his granddaughter Elvira, in Case 26.
  • Papa Wolf: Subverted with One-tooth Sam, the "mayor" of the homeless community Cooperville; when Vipers leader Salvador Cordero attacked one of the girls living in the area, Sam armed himself with a knife and prepared to go and kill the gang leader, but on reaching the Vipers' hangout and seeing Salvador, he lost his nerve and fled (it didn't help that he was already an old man suffering from asthma) When interrogated, he mentioned that no matter how much Sam hated Cordero's mistreatment of one of the girls, he couldn't stoop so low as to kill a man; Jones reminds him that it's the police force's job to bring criminals to justice. One of his fellow street people finds some blood-stained glass and brings it to Jones for evidence.
  • Pet the Dog: Tony Marconi killed Salvador Cordero after catching him hitting Ginger. Then after being jailed, Marconi leaves his nightclub for Ginger. As Jones put it, it took a lot of the fun out of finally busting him.
  • Piranha Problem: The focus of Case 38, as the victim was half-Eaten Alive by a school of these. It's quickly determined that it wasn't an accident, as the fish were taken out of a science-project tank and the victim was deliberately cut on her leg to ensure the piranha would attack her.
  • Playing with Syringes: Case 21's murder weapon is a syringe with a deadly experimental serum, while Case 45's murder weapon is a collagen-filled syringe (the victim was stabbed with several of these). Kelly Speltz, being an Evilutionary Biologist, also does this often.
  • Police are Useless: Most citizens of Grimsborough don't think too highly of the local police department, especially when it comes to complaints getting addressed quickly. This is mostly caused by Ramirez misfiling the aforementioned reports, or because Jones often gets overly emotional and tactless when dealing with suspects.
  • Power Hair: Martha Price, the representative of the Blue Party and Mayor Johnson's political rival, has short blonde hair with her bangs neatly parted in the middle.
  • Prison Rape: Jones announces that Bulldog and Mikhail Levin should watch out for this after being arrested and sent to prison.
  • Psycho Lesbian:
    • Averted with Mrs Jenny Honeycomb in "An Elementary Murder". While she did kill the victim, she only wanted to threaten her into breaking up with her.
    • Played straight in "Beautiful No More". The murderer killed her victim because she laughed at her when she realised she was her secret admirer.
  • Psycho Psychologist: Dr. Lawrence Bishop, one of the suspects in Case 7, is revealed to be this, by virtue of being a fundamentalist Christian and being on the same medication he prescribed to his patients. That he encouraged Linda Lovara's madness while she was his patient really doesn't help his case.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Jones's response to Chad Whickman's (admittedly bad) poetry to his girlfriend Rose.
    Jones: "Skulls are red, Vipers are blue, gang war sucks, but I love you so much." ...What. The. Hell is THAT?
  • Rags to Riches: Samuel "One-Tooth Sam" Bennett, after a valuable jewel turns up in the sewer which was intended as a present for his late wife. He uses the money to improve his neighborhood of Cooperville and the industrial area.
  • Reading Your Rights: Several times, Jones reads the Miranda Rights when arresting the case's killer.
  • Red Herring: Several cases in the Grimsborough arc can mislead you as to who the killer is:
    • In case 1, of the two suspects, Ash Bison is associated with the Vipers and has a very abrasive personality. But the culprit is actually the other suspect, the football player Matt Barry.
    • In case 3, a message from Jennifer's phone casts doubt on Raoul the butcher, and Raphael has a very strong motive to kill Jennifer to avoid their affair being exposed to his girlfriend Trish. But the culprit is actually Trish herself, who killed Jennifer upon discovering the affair.
    • In case 8, Colin behaves like a creepy stalker and was obsessed with the victim, making him a very strong suspect in her murder. But the culprit is actually Alice the barmaid, who also had feelings for the victim and killed the victim upon her confession being rejected.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Case 50's victim was eaten by a giant boa.
  • Rich Bitch: In Case 14, mall cleaner Odell Toole describes Lucy Campbell, a clothing store owner and the murder victim, as this. Case 15's victim, Aileen Greene (Alden Greene's daughter-in-law), is also revealed to have behaved this way.
    Odell Toole: (about Lucy Campbell) Lucy owned this shop, and she wouldn't let you forget it. She looked down on a LOT of people, it's no wonder one of them decided to off her.
  • Safe, Sane, and Consensual: BDSM mistress Jezabela insists her fetish parties operate under this, when you question her in Case 20.
    Jezabela: I own a club for adults who enjoy a little domination, but they are not murderers.
  • Secretly Wealthy: One-tooth Sam, who resides in a homeless district and behaves like a typical hobo, but is revealed to be a millionaire who had renounced his wealth.
  • Serious Business: The annual Dog Pageant, which is the subject of the Historic Center story arc, proves to be this for Margaret Littlewood, who's willing to commit murder in order to ensure victory in the competition.
  • Scary Black Man: Biff Wellington, which is kind of necessary for his job as a security officer. In terms of people he considers friends, though, he's a Gentle Giant.
  • Scary Librarian: Constance Bell. She used to browbeat Jones, when he was much younger, over returning library books late or being too loud in the library, and even years after the fact, her use of the Full-Name Ultimatum is enough to set Jones on edge when you and he go to see her in Case 26. As well, by her own admission, she was trained in voodoo at a young age, and claimed to have set a curse on the case's victim to give him perpetual bad luck until he returned overdue library books. And then there's her Berserk Button about people leaving food stains on books they've borrowed from her—she threatens in a screeching voice to set a curse on the person responsible, prompting Jones to grab you and beat a very hasty retreat.
  • Rookie Red Ranger: Your character gets thrust into this role, ostensibly to help with the growing case-load the Grimsborough police department has to contend with. Fortunately, you are partnered with Jones to help you out and provide support.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Alden Greene. This is also the attitude of the affluent Maple Heights residents, as Case 42's killer alleges.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: General James Marsh, one of the suspects in Case 21, calls in Mayor Johnson to convince you not to keep him on your suspects' list.
    Mayor Johnson: You're being horribly misled in thinking that General Marsh is a possible suspect in your murder case. He's just been promoted as head of the army's chemical testing unit! And he hasn't come as far by making any mistakes. I can count on you, can't I, (player's name)? It would be a shame not to have such a powerful man on our side.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Shaun Crosby, in Case 13. On being told that his father, the victim of that case and also a war veteran, was killed in an explosion, Shaun's immediate reaction is to panic and ask if they're under attack and if reinforcements are needed. Jones notes that it must be a sign of PTSD.
  • Slashed Throat: The victim in case 52 is given a Colombian Necktie.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: There are a couple of examples throughout the game of people who are very knowledgeable in their areas of expertise and who wear glasses. One example is Tess Goodwin, a student at Grimsborough University, who majors in psychology.
  • Soft Glass: Averted in Case 11, as the victim was murdered by having a glass bottle smashed over his head, cracking his skull.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Colin Stokes and Alice August are revealed to have been this for Trixie Velvet, Case 8's victim.
  • Stealth Insult: Ash Bison, the former leader of the Vipers gang, pulls this during Case 1's side-quest, when you and Jones interrogate him about the activities of his organization. Eventually, he offers up information:
    Ash Bison: All right, (player's rank), you got me! We've changed leaders recently. The new guy's name is... Keath Myass!
    Jones: Great! (player's name), let's go talk to this Keath... Keath My... (realizes) Oh you little...That's it! (player's name), put this jerk behind bars!
  • Steel Ear Drums: Averted in Case 13, in which the victim died after being blown up by a bomb; Nathan points out that the perpetrator, as well as anyone less than 30 feet away from the blast, would suffer some hearing loss.
  • The Stoner: Tom Hunt and Riley Davies from Cases 15 and 33, respectively.
    Tom Hunt: (player's name), why are you all purple? And why do you have wings, such pretty, pretty wings...
  • Supreme Chef:
    • Margaret Littlewood, of whose baking Jones is a fan.
    • Also, the killer in Case 17 has to be a very good cook to be able to poison the food without it being noticed by the victim.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Jones gives one in Case 8 when he suggests that you should go back to Marconi's stripper club to find more clues, while insisting that it's certainly not to go see the club's cute barmaid (who happens to be a suspect).
    Jones: (blushing) No, it's not at all to see Alice! I'm sure there's an important clue hidden in this club!
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: How the murders in Cases 17, 31 and 42 are committed. In the first two cases, the food was poisoned; in the third case, razor-blades were hidden inside the cake the victim was eating, and the victim only died because he was a Big Eater who basically gobbled down his food without chewing properly.
  • Tattooed Crook: All members of the local Vipers and Skulls gangs have a tattoo of, respectively, a curled-up snake and a flaming skull somewhere on their bodies. Also, Bulldog has a tattoo of the letter B with a spiked collar around it, on his neck.
  • Teens Are Short: From Case 18, Ramona Stewart (16 years old) has exactly the same height with Julian Ramis, who is 4 years younger than her.
  • Tempting Fate: Case 16 starts this way.
    Jones: I don't care if a psychopath with a chainsaw runs right past us, I'm not doing anything until we've eaten our hot dogs!
    (cue victim being shoved out of a nearby tower window)
  • Tipis and Totem Poles: The storyline of the "Airport" cases (Cases 52 - 56) make it clear that Grimsborough is in the northeastern US. Search screens dealing with the Aloki tribe contain both Plains eagle-feather bonnets and Northwest Coast totem poles.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: During the aftermath of Case 51's, a certain Stuard Huckabee hints that there may be a reason why so many murders take place in Grimsborough. This "dark secret" manifests in the form of a notorious secret society called the Crimson Order. The organization apparently controls Grimsborough's finances through their illicit gold mining, and would kill anyone who stands against them.
  • Tragic Keepsake: In his back-story, One-Tooth Sam bought his wife an expensive jewel. Some time afterward, she took sick and died despite his efforts to save her, leading him to renounce his wealth and give it all away - but he couldn't bring himself to part with the jewel, so he locked it in a box and hid it in the sewers instead.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: Case 47's killer did this to the victim's plane by pouring fake de-icing fluid into the plane's engine, causing the victim to crash the plane at the site of his own wedding party (on the day of his wedding, no less).
  • Vice City: Grimsborough. Aside from the constancy of murders always being the main mysteries of each case, there are several instances of gang violence and frequent conflict among said gangs, mob activity, prostitution, mentally-disturbed residents, drug-dealing, a whole community of homeless people with their own unofficial mayor, at least one case of police corruption, rampant instances of infidelity, and basic lack of compassion from the richer residents.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Rorschach Reaper completely loses it when Ramirez knocks Jones unconscious to save the player.
    Rorschach Reaper: WHAT DID YOU DO?! You ruined everything! (player's name)'s death was going to be my masterpiece! YOU DESTROYED MY WORK!
  • We Can Rule Together: Alden Greene tries this with your player character at the end of Case 21, but it doesn't take.
    Jones: Don't try that trick with us, Alden! Unlike some people in this city, (player's rank and name) has moral values!
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: During one of Case 41's side-quests, a teacher at Grimsborough University is determined that no more of the school's students are going to be she submits a safety-measures proposal to the dean that consists of hourly helicopter patrols, cameras in the bathrooms, students being required to carry circulation permits, and a stipulation that notifications of schedule changes are to be given two days beforehand.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: During Case 51, you find evidence that the Red Party and Blue Party are really the same thing and both are being controlled from behind the scenes. You later find out that The Crimson Order is behind everything, and that the Red Party's Howard Johnson is a member - but Martha Price and the Blue Party cease to be mentioned after the end of Case 51, even though logically Martha would be a member as well.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Jones gets this twice.
    • One side-quest in Case 5 involves figuring out whether the food at Dimitri Balanchine's restaurant is safe for consumption. When test results show that the food is safe, Jones grumbles about how the test result will exempt Balanchine from being prosecuted (since Balanchine has criminal connections). Grace immediately calls him out on this attitude, pointing out that Jones ought to be happy nobody's getting sick as a result of eating Balanchine's food.
    Grace: I've got some good news! The food samples you gave me are clean!
    Jones: (outraged) Dammit! I can't believe this obnoxious douchebag is getting out of trouble again!
    Grace: (frowning) Uh...Jones...should you not just be happy people won't get sick after eating there?
    Jones: Mmph...I guess you're right.
    • In Case 11, Chief King takes Jones to task for allowing his investigation into Tony Marconi to get too personal, threatening him with suspension if Jones violates the restraining order that's been taken out against him.
  • Your Head Asplode: Case 41's victim got her head blown off after her tiara was rigged to explode.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Some of the victims got killed due to an affair they were involved in. Examples include Cases 3, 5 and 10; and in all the three aforementioned cases, the killers' lover was having an affair with the victim.

    Pacific Bay arc 
  • Androids Are People, Too: This is the main focus of Innovation Valley, where robots are gaining conscience, becoming suspects and killers, agitating for more rights without any concern for humans, and one of them planning to subjugate, then exterminate, humanity with nanobots.
  • Back for the Dead:
    • Inverted with Shelly Dulard, who came back from a district-long absence, then turned out to be the murderer in the same case that she returned in.
    • Played straight with David Rosenberg, an inventor from Innovation Valley who later ended up as the first victim in The Wastes.
    • Both Alden Greene and Bobby Prince invert this then play it straight. The former returns as an Unexpected Character after being put away (supposedly for good), and was discovered to be the case's killer right after his return. Before the player could arrest him though, Frank shot him dead. The latter killed Frank in the next case and was shot dead by Amy after he was revealed to be the killer.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: In Inner City, it seems that Fredo Mancini, Inner Chaos' leader, will be involved in the final case of the district. He turns out to be the killer of the penultimate case of the district. And he's killed by Hannah..
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Between Russell and Amy, in Case 56's finale. With animation and everything.
  • Brain Uploading: The Big Bad's ultimate plan is to build a digital Utopia where everyone's consciousness is built around a computer, and everyone would be subject to his rule.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The Utopian cult, who runs a brainwashing conspiracy, could make their victims do outrageous things. This can go from pretty harmless stuffs like stealing and destroying a movie script to actually kidnapping a team member and holding them at gunpoint.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: After solving Case 22, Frank will say that he's going to either get a beer or go to bed... or perhaps he'll have a beer in bed.
  • The Bus Came Back: All (except one, who happens to be Season 2's Big Bad) characters that get involved in the Wastes' chapters are returning characters (including one from Grimsborough). The characters in the final case of the Wastes (and therefore, of Season 2) are all previously indicted killers, even.
  • Church of Happyology: The Ivywood Hills is run by a cult (that is very obviously based on Scientology) called "The Utopians" who promises aspiring celebrities a life of eternal youth and fame for a fee. They are also responsible for more heinous activities such as brainwashing.
  • Conjoined Twins: One (Two?) of the suspects in Case 52 are a pair of conjoined twins.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Unlike Grimsborough, Pacific Bay appears to be a generally peaceful place with many beautiful tourist attractions, but also hides many deadly conflicts and dark secrets, such as the fake voodoo craze in Bayou Bleu, the Chinese-Russian conflict and anarchy in Inner City, the man-made hurricanes and Serial Killer in Jazz Town, the Night Walker Urban Legend of White Peaks, the Utopian cult in Ivywood, the Alien conspiracy in Rhine Canyon, the robot uprising in Innovation Valley, and ultimately the digital Utopia that the Big Bad intended to build after destroying Pacific Bay.
  • Cure Your Gays: Case 22's victim attempted to do this to his own son by sending him to military camp.
  • Dead Guy Puppet: The Puppeteer's MO involves dismembering parents caught arguing with their 14-year-old children and hanging them like marionettes. He did this to his own parents, who were his first victims.
  • Decomposite Character: Both of the players' new partners seem to reflect many from their predecessor, Jones. Jones's more "innocent" side is projected in Amy, the naive idealist who is always praising everything the player character does. His "wild" side manifests in Frank, a bumbling, skirt-chasing Big Eater who constantly gets into trouble with the Chief.
  • Distinguishing Mark: Luz Lucha, a suspect in Case 33, is revealed to have a skull-shaped birthmark on her forehead, which is why she wears a mask throughout most of her entire appearances in the case.
  • Dream Tells You to Wake Up: Ata the end of the last episode. Tesla, an evil A.I., is plotting to install everyone's mind inside a virtual reality and destroy all Pacific Bay in the real world. Frank has been the last victim, and Karen died in an earlier episode, but their minds (and their late children) had been uploaded to the virtual reality. The Agent and Amy have the means to destroy Tesla and his virtual world, but that would mean "killing" Frank a second time. What does Frank say? Do it. Kill Tesla, end all this. The Knight family accepts that they are all dead, and that their existence within a virtual reality is meaningless.
  • Fan Disservice: Briefly played in Case 14, Spineless, where the player character found a picture of Shelly Dulard, who is fat and not at all pretty, in a sexy/seductive pose. Lampshaded by Frank Knight.
    Frank: Yikes, this can't be unseen!
  • Fat Bitch: Shelly Dulard is an overweight woman who is unfriendly and constantly makes insulting remarks towards "skinny girls" like Amy.
  • Fat Slob: Roberto Vasquez was implied to be this in his first appearance when his jerkass brother is killed. Seems to be averted in his later appearances, though, as he's mostly seen as normal fat guy.
  • Fictional Counterpart: The districts in Pacific Bay are based on various locations in the United States.
    • Ocean Shore's general mood reflects on real life California and New Jersey with its reality shows, night scene, and more.
    • Bayou Blue is quite obviously one to traditional voodoo magic in the bayous of Louisiana.
    • Inner City features many festivals and cultures, referencing real life New York City.
    • Jazz Town and its hurricane are one to New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina, respective.
    • White Peaks is one to Colorado's mountains.
    • Ivywood Hills is an obvious one to Hollywood.
    • Rhine Canyon and the allusions to aliens is one to the legend of Area 51.
    • Innovation Valley is a stand in for Silicon Valley.
    • Paradise City is for Las Vegas.
    • The Wastes is based on the Nevada Test Site.
  • Five-Man Band: The members of the heist on the Mennagio Casino in Paradise City:
    • Big Bad: Louis de Rico, the leader of the heist.
    • The Dragon: Danny Moto, Louis's second-in-command and the one whose plans ensured the heist's success.
    • Evil Genius: Shared between Danny Moto and Freddy Gomez; the former's plans ensured the heist's success while the latter used glass eyes to bypass the casino's biometric security system.
    • The Brute: Papa Quansah, who blew up the casino's vault with dynamite.
    • Dark Chick: Jezebel Lopez, who distracted the casino's guards.
    • Sixth Ranger Traitor: Frank Knight, who killed Danny to prevent the revelation of the heist's "sixth man" A.K.A Karen Knight.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Dinah Cooper, a cabaret dancer from Jazz Town, has a rather tenuous relationship with her 14-year-old son Louie. At the same time, a serial killer known as the Puppeteer reemerges after 10 years and is known to kill parents caught arguing with their 14-year-old children. Guess who becomes the Puppeteer's last victim before their eventual arrest.
    • When we meet Amy and Duncan's mother — Miriam Young, Frank wonders how a such a harpy can raise two decent kids without one of them ending up as a sociopath. In the very next case, it was revealed that Duncan is the Night Walker, after all.
    • In Case 7, Frank drops a line that foreshadows his betrayal of the Pacific Bay PD and eventual death at the end of the season:
    Frank: What the hell, <player>... What's happened to Harvey?! Stay in the force long enough and it feels like you've just got a choice between dying a hero or becoming a monster!
  • Gold Digger: Carly Lewis, the wife of the first PB victim, is a pretty blatant one. When she was informed of her celebrity husband's death, the only thing she cares about is how he would no longer be able to buy her expensive new things. And when Amy tried to console her by saying she shouldn't be taking the loss too badly, she immediately tried to capitalize on his death by hosting a grand season finale of their reality show.
  • Got Volunteered: When the Pacific Bay police station was attacked by looters in Case 22, Chief Marquez asked for a volunteer to assess the station's damage. Roxie and Hannah immediately nominates Frank for the task without his consent.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: The aggressive roller derby skater, Mona Middlefinger, is secretly a Nice Girl who volunteers in hospitals to entertain sick kids, and donates money to charities. When confronted by the player about this, she makes them promise not to tell anyone about this fact, because she needs to keep her reputation as a strong, ruthless derby girl.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Bayou Bleu is full of this because of a local voodoo craze. All the voodoo is fake, and it was used by a "priestess" to conceal the serial murders she committed.
  • House Husband: One of the suspects in Case 36 (who happens to be the victim's husband) had to leave his job to raise his child by himself because his wife is a very busy movie director.
  • I Just Want to Be Beautiful: Velma Bannister is a beautiful Femme Fatale who is used to charming her ways to get what she wants. When she realized that her sex appeal is only going to fade as she gets older, she decided to usurp the Utopians' brainwashing plans and use her own brainwash tape to ensure that everyone in Ivywood will worship her beauty forever.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The killer in Case 28 roasted the victim alive over a pit of lava and then cannibalized him.
  • Irish Priest: The murder victim of Spineless is the local priest of Inner City and a member of the Irish community residing in that district.
  • It's All My Fault: Tiffany Dunn, a drug addict from Case 42, was a teen prodigy who blamed herself for her parents' deaths in a car accident when she stayed after school one day and they came to pick her up.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The casino heist in Paradise City was supposedly led by Louis de Rico, but after his death it was revealed that the true mastermind behind the operation was Karen Knight, who intended to steal plutonium from the casino's vault through the heist. Then, it was further revealed that Karen herself was being manipulated by Albert Tesla, who ordered her to get the plutonium to power up his computer, in exchange for Karen's daughter, who is currently in a coma.
  • Pretty Boy: The two figure skaters introduced in Hearts of Ice: Juan Rodrigo Vasquez and Dimitrios Moustaki. Every woman featured in the case seemed to be gawking at their attractiveness, and even Roxie forgoes her usual wisecracking during her autopsy on Juan Rodrigo's body to bemoan about what a waste it was to have such a beautiful young thing murdered.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: The Puppeteer believed that children should be free and that parents who hinder their freedom only get their joy from restricting their children and therefore must be killed.
  • Reality Ensues: In Case 8, Hannah hacked the computers of a nearby military base and was subsequently detained by Colonel Spangler. Fortunately, she was released because of Chief Marquez's intervention.
  • Recycled In Space: An In-Universe example. A film producer in Case 31 wanted to make a TV show featuring the player character's investigations called "Criminal Space", where the investigations will be set in space.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Played in Case 37, where the murder victim is a poor artist trying to pursue romance with an actress, who is already engaged to a wealthy but possessive movie producer. Unlike most examples, however, the actress decided that she loves her glamorous lifestyle (and, by extension, her rich fiance) more than she does the poor suitor and she killed him to cut off her ties with him.
  • Self-Made Orphan: The Puppeteer's first murder was that of their parents.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The murderer in Case 7 of Pacific Bay killed a bank representative to stop her from demolishing the local theme park only to have the owner of the theme park sell it to the bank anyway, after his arrest.
  • Skip to the End: In Case 8, Frank asked Honorable Dante to sentence the killer after the latter rambled about his fondness for plants.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: The ongoing conflict between the Chinese and Russian communities in the Inner City makes it virtually impossible for any relationship between a Chinese and a Russian to work out.
    • In the first case of the district, Heartless a Russian man eloped with a Chinese woman, and the girl ended up being murdered by her husband's sister, who refused to let Chinese blood get mixed into her heritage.
    • Apparently the leader of the Russians, Nikolai Kamarov, and the leader of the Chinese, Sue Xiong, used to be lovers and even had a child together, but the peer pressure from their families and friends causes them to part ways and abandon their son.
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • Amy's mother, Miriam Young, is just like an older version of Amy (right down to the hair) — if Amy also happens to be a bespectacled, sour harpy that is.
    • Likewise, Russell looks very similar to his father, Jupiter.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: In case 8 of Pacific Bay, the player character is implied to lose their patience and yell at Frank when he's reluctant to help with a clue.
    Frank: Alright, alright, I'll help out, don't yell! That bag looks pretty straightforward, let's have a look inside.
  • Trophy Wife: Hubert Bannister is an old, balding cripple who is nonetheless a very well-respected and influential member of the Utopians. He is married to a 27-year-old Femme Fatale who is about the same age as (or perhaps even younger than) his daughter.
  • Unexpected Character: After being sentenced with a life imprisonment without a possibility of parole, you'd think that Alden Greene would finally disappear for good, especially since this is not the first time he managed to bail out from prison. But no, he had to come all the way from Grimsborough to once again disrupt the player character's life.
  • Unishment: Case 47's killer was overjoyed to receive a job in prison even though it was the worst job there was, so his sentence was increased to 40 years.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Amy and Russell quite obviously have feelings towards one another: they constantly praise each other's works, and get exceedingly worried whenever the other is in trouble (in Case 36 Amy freaks out when Russell went missing, while Russell gets uncharacteristically infuriated when the Utopians brainwashed Amy in case 38). However, aside from their occasional flirtings, nothing explicit ever happens between the two. Until Chapter 56, that is.
  • Yandere: By the time Case 59 rolls around, Bobby Prince has degenerated into one of these. He was willing to commit murder so that he could be with Amy, and when she tells him that she already has a boyfriend, he threatened to shoot her.

    World Edition arc 
  • Aborted Arc: Several character dialogues seemingly set up certain plot lines, which never goes anywhere.
    • In the very first chapter, Marina criticises Jack's mommy issues when the latter tries to flirt with her, which might tie into Jack's Mysterious Past. Not only is Jack's backstory never established, the Eurasia arc shows that Marina is the one with issues with her mother.
    • Likewise, when the party meets Lily Karam in Chapter 41, her cold and standoffish behaviour can seem quite troubling, especially compared to how friendly she had seemed in chapter 39. When she tells the player that she's heading to Brazil, it is hinted that she may have a larger role to play in the story. However, when the team did go to Brazil in Chapter 47, Lily is nowhere to be found, and her story arc never continues.
    • One could consider the season has turned into this. After finishing the final case in Mysteries of The Past, the player goes straight back to Grimsborough with no goodbye at all to the World Edition team. It's not even stated why or how the player has come back to Grimsborough. One can hope the developers will explain as the season continues.
  • Anime Hair: Suzuki Sakura. Just look at her hair and notice how it stands out from any other character, let alone suspect.
  • Arc Words: In East Asia, many characters say "The weak die." It is a Madness Mantra said by those brainwashed by SOMBRA.
  • Artistic License – Geography: The South Asian cases make you hop around New Delhi, Agra, and Shimla like it's nothing, and even had a kid offering elephant rides from one place to another, even though these areas are hundreds of kilometers away from each other and would need nothing short of a plane to quickly travel around the place.
  • Blessed with Suck: A position in the Bureau is shown to be like this. Everyone else knows them as the highest authority worldwide, with Jack implying that people have actually killed for a job there. Throughout World Edition, it's shown that being in the Bureau can be very life-threatening, as the members have to investigate under even the most treacherous circumstances (i.e. natural disasters, wars, epidemics) while the criminal organization they're trying to investigate is constantly toying with them. They also have almost no time to take breaks, due to the safety of the entire Earth being in their hands.
  • British Stuffiness: The first suspect we encounter in Season 3's first case is a banker who is well acquainted with the murder victim. When Jack demands why he doesn't seem fazed by the victim's death, he explained that his British stiff upper lip dictates that he don't fuss over something as trivial as murder, unlike Americans.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The Bureau's members have strange and distracting quirks, but they were all recruited to be in the world's top police forces. This is often Lampshaded by Chief Ripley and Jack early on.
  • The Bus Came Back: North America has several suspects from past regions return unexpectedly, which coincides with the new El Rey being someone The Bureau's met before.
  • The Comically Serious: Several members of the main cast, with the most prominent being Judge Adaku, Elliot, Carmen, Jonah, Dupont, and Michelle.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: After she mentioned about leaving for Brazil at the end of Chapter 41, Lily is never seen or ever mentioned again by the characters.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: Lily Karam, Jonah's half-sister.
  • Darker and Edgier: World Edition is certainly this compared to the other two seasons. It begins with the player being told quite bluntly that the world is in danger, and that several areas in Europe have been defiled because of suspected foul play. Many of the murders in this season are connected to an organization bent on world chaos rather than personal reasons, and said organization DOES NOT hesitate to directly attack the Bureau at every opportunity. In addition, the Bureau also helps countries during natural disasters, and are sometimes caught in the middle of one themselves. As a result, the main characters are more exposed to danger than ever before and so far, more than half of the Bureau members have been seriously injured while doing their jobs.
    • East Asia is looking to be this compared to the other regions, with children being hurt and disappearing as well as Lars and Angela fearing for the safety of their own daughters.
  • Evil Albino: The albino monk Brother Klaus Weissman is a devout member of a fanatical cult, the Prometheans. He and his cult have been involved with several murder cases in Europe, and Klaus himself finally stepped up to commit one himself when the player goes to Rome.
  • Faking the Dead: Case 12 reveals that Chief Ripley is still alive, and that she was only pretending to be dead to trap The Sword.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: Case 14 has a parody of Don Bluth's Anastasia, and features the titular Duchess trying to prove her identity which turns out to be a delusion she invented to cope with her past. After learning the truth, she is saddened but thanks the Bureau for helping her.
  • Friend to All Children: All of the Bureau's personnel are shown to be kind and helpful towards the children they meet, particularly during East Asia's child crisis.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Arsha Raju is a sharp-tongued Bollywood star who doesn't even bother remembering the Bureau or anyone she works with most of the time. However, when the player visits her in the Additional Investigation of Bollywood, she's shown to be much nicer than she lets on, such as giving a signed photo to a street boy and inviting Dupont to play in the Cricket Gala. She's also grateful to them for fixing one of her dresses.
    • East Asia has a male version, K-pop star SILVERee. He has a ditzy and snobbish demeanor, but can be surprisingly down to earth when it's needed-like when he helps the player recover the memories of children who have been brainwashed by SOMBRA.
  • Mistaken Nationality: While speaking to The Bureau's Historian, Armand Dupont, Jack assumed that he was French, especially due to his pompous behaviour and use of French phrases. Armand angrily corrects him that he's from Switzerland.
  • Ms. Fanservice: One of the suspects in case 7, Asal Hawaa, is a very pretty and very scantily dressed Belly Dancer who makes her first appearance giving the player a sexy dance. Unsurprisingly, Jack is more than happy to interrogate her.
  • Multinational Team: The player's main team in the Bureau has characters from the US, UK, South Korea, Australia, Switzerland, and Russia. While Ingrid's origin is unknown, her surname implies that she's Nordic (her first and last names are of Scandinavian origin, and her necklace has a snowflake, a symbol often associated with Nordic or Scandinavian culture). Later on, the team gains Jonah Karam and Michelle Zuria, who are from South Africa and Singapore, respectively.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The only reason SOMBRA was able to become so powerful was because Chief Ripley, as well as the CIA, have funded them. However, CIA's reasons for funding SOMBRA, to infiltrate smaller countries to gain control of their oil, are not exactly seen in a heroic light.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Eccentric wildlife maniac Vadim Efremov turns out to be a MGB field agent.
  • Opposites Attract: Lars and Angela Douglas, the Forensic Expert and Coroner of The Bureau. In their character profiles, Lars is described as a laidback joker, while Angela is described to be organized and perfectionist.
  • Otaku: Yelena Tereshkova is a space-obsessed loony who can't seem to say anything outside wanting to go to space and whining about being rejected as an astronaut. Her obsession allowed her to be manipulated by Natasha into murdering someone with the promise of finally going to space.
  • Panda-ing to the Audience: The second case of East Asia has the team visit a panda preserve to look for clues, and they run into some real pandas during the investigation. However, this is subverted when a panda tries to eat one of the suspects after being annoyed by him.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: While in Germany, the player met a nudist who was also a fat, balding old man. Naturally, the first thing Carmen did was tell him to wear some pants on.
  • Poor Communication Kills: And how. The Bureau was solely founded for the purpose of eliminating SOMBRA, and Chief Ripley refused to tell anyone about that, not even Ingrid. She did discuss her plans with the head of Mossad, who only pressed for her to keep her secret hidden. This even extends to the Bureau's interactions with Asal, who also had no idea of that discussion and honestly thought that searching for SOMBRA was just a game. When the truth is revealed, the Bureau is able to communicate more clearly with Asal, and all of the team members are upset with the Chief for hiding so many things from them. Elliot even laments that Michelle might still be alive had they known the truth all along.
  • Putting on the Reich: In one case involving SOMBRA, Child Soldier recruits are ordered to wear red armbands.
  • Put on a Bus: The whole team. Unlike previous seasons, there's no sendoff from the past police force to the next one. The player comes back to the present and is immediately thrown into Grimsborough, while the player has no idea of the fates of the World Edition team or how they were called back.
    • Jack and Marina later return in Travel In Time three seasons later, and while he doesn't appear, there's a few mentions of Jonah by Marina.
  • Rape and Revenge: Case 7 turns out to be this. The victim raped his ex-fiancée, who killed him in retaliation so he won't do the same thing to other women.
  • Relative Error: When Marina digs through Jonah's history and finds another woman in a photo with him who has the same last name as him, she explodes and thought the woman was Jonah's wife. When the woman is revealed to be Jonah's half-sister though, she's clearly embarrassed about her outburst.
  • Remember the New Guy?: World Edition has many cases of this, due to many non-Bureau characters appearing outside of the region they debuted in.
  • Royal "We": The player gets to meet the Queen of England in Case 1, and she speaks of herself using "we" or "us", even when talking to her own family.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Case 21's victim, the patient zero of a plague killing hundreds in Bangalore, was found in a temple of Shiva, the destroyer within the Hindu trinity. The killer believed killing millions will solve the world's overpopulation problem and usher a new era.
  • The Runaway: Benjamin Scott is the Circus Runaway type, who believes he's entitled to prance around in the exotic Sahara region because his parents embarrass him, not bothering to consider how worried they are about him and how much trouble he's causing the Bureau by getting involved in various murder cases.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Agrafena Raskolnikova, a Russian young woman who went from a slightly messed up-looking rights activist into a clean and neat-looking Senior Assistant of Unified Nations. Lampshaded by Carmen.
  • Shipper on Deck: In North America, the other Bureau members playfully tease Jack and Lars about being together, despite their repeated denial. Even Asal wishes Jack "Good luck with Lars" in her last appearance.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Case 21 was chock full of Nightmare Fuel from the beginning, but the case truly takes a dark turn when Lars falls deathly ill.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: A sub-plot in the East Asia arc involves Tsukada Chieko's search for her long lost brother, who was taken in by SOMBRA. In the final chapter of the district, she finally found him, as the murder victim, that is.
  • The Social Darwinist: SOMBRA's motto is "The smart rule, the strong command, the fast work, the weak die."
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Ambassador Stern from case 7 is a rather extreme example. She's very harsh when talking with Jack and the player, but immediately does a 180 degree and turns into a sweet Doting Parent when her son is around.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: The other characters' dialogue occasionally implies that the Player Character sometimes has this feeling towards their Bureau colleagues.
  • Third-Person Person: One of the suspects in the first case, Count Rupert, refers to himself as "one".
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: The murder victim of Case 5, Father Pietro Agnelli, is fondly remembered by all as a very kind and saintly man. The ones who openly show distaste towards him are the maliciously ambitious Cardinal Salieri (who is the second-in-line after Agnelli as the Pope's successor), and those who disagree with his political views. Indeed, he was murdered for political reasons rather than someone actually having a personal grudge on him.
    • To a lesser extent, the victim of Case 19. Although she did some questionable things to help the earthquake victims of India (such as stealing and selling valuables to get medicine), her heart was ultimately in the right place and her killer had murdered her because she disagreed with forcing victims to pay for treatment in a disaster.
  • True Companions: World Edition puts a lot of focus on how the main characters interact with each other and their relationships. This only adds to the devastation of discovering a traitor in the Bureau.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Poo-pert — er, Rupert — is a member of the British royal family who seems to think that this automatically makes him better than anyone else. He tries to get Jack and the player character arrested for not respecting him (i.e. treating him as a murder suspect, which he is), and persists on continuing the arrest even after they solved the crime. Thankfully the Queen is more a Reasonable Authority Figure and quickly dropped the charges.
  • Volcano Lair: SOMBRA has one of these on their island in Case 36.
  • We Are Everywhere: SOMBRA. Think the criminal organizations from previous seasons are bad enough? They are just in America (as far as the game tells), SOMBRA is global. They can even be one of your close friends in the Bureau.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Chief Ripley died after just six cases into the season. This is perhaps the shortest-lived team member we've ever had. Her death was later revealed to be faked in case 12.
  • Western Terrorists: The Promethians of the Europe arc are a centuries-old terrorist organization seeking to dominate Europe into one country, starting with an attempt to blow up many of Europe's famous landmarks. They're also in league with SOMBRA, the antagonists of the entire season.
  • Wham Episode: Considering World Edition is much Darker and Edgier than the previous seasons, it has several of these:
    • Case 6: Just when the team thinks that they've straightened things out in Europe, Chief Ripley is shot with a poison dart and seemingly killed, forcing the team to start their quest around the world.
    • Case 9: It's revealed that instead of defeating individual district villains like previous seasons, this season will focus on a global organization called SOMBRA, and that they'd already had a run-in with them via the Promethians.
    • Case 12: The suspects in this case put several Bureau members' lives at great risk, especially the Big Bad. For the first time ever, a suspect becomes an official member of the main police force, and Chief Ripley is revealed to have faked her death to trick The Sword.
    • Case 21: Lars nearly dies in the line of duty, and the case's killer is an Omnicidal Maniac who unleashed a plague on thousands of innocents because he wanted to play god. This is normally what would be expected for a district finale, but it happens midway through this particular district. This shifts the tone for later cases, hammering in the point that the Bureau members are in constant danger just for doing their jobs.
    • Case 25: SOMBRA is on the move again, and this time they're targeting orphaned children to further their sick plans.
    • Case 30: A SOMBRA agent kills a child with their own hands, and the Bureau discovers that the orphans who survived SOMBRA's plans for them are taken to "The Next Level" as teenagers. Also, Carmen becomes the legal guardian of Sanjay Korrapati, causing him to start traveling with the Bureau as well.
    • Case 32: The team catches a SOMBRA agent two episodes into the Oceania district, and said SOMBRA agent doesn't hesitate to take Elliot hostage, then badly injure him and Jack. On their mission to save Elliot, the player uncovers what SOMBRA is doing with the "Next Level" recruits: brainwashing and experimenting on them against their will.
    • Case 37: The entire Bureau is nearly killed in a plane crash even before the case begins, and the reason was an act of sabotage-by someone within the Bureau.
    • Case 42: The SOMBRA mole is revealed to be Angela, and the player only finds out after the morale of the team had been thoroughly broken, especially Lars's. Also, Michelle Zuria is officially accepted into the Bureau, and becomes the player's third partner for this season.
    • Case 43: Grace returns as a new member of the Bureau.
    • Case 44: Lars is still in a broken state from Angela's betrayal, and threatens to kill himself midway through the case. When digging through the history of SOMBRA, the team finds the name "El Rey", who is rumored to be the one who started SOMBRA in the first place.
    • Case 46: Asal returns, and Lars tries to arrest her in his still-broken state. Later, she reveals that Mossad had given her a new assignment: to chase down El Rey before the Bureau does.
    • Case 48: Michelle is suddenly killed by El Rey, who reveals that SOMBRA has a new leader now, and that they'll soon step out of the shadows. He also reveals that the new leader is someone that the team's already met.
    • Case 53: US officials are completely oblivious to the problems caused by SOMBRA, so the Bureau seeks proof through taking down the hijackced SOMBRA satellite that had been helping them since Eurasia. As soon as it enters the Earth's atmosphere, it gets re-hacked by SOMBRA, rendering it unusable by the Bureau.
    • Case 54: After crashing the satellite, the team arrives at the scene to find Jean Connerie dead, and the killer turned out to be former Bureau ally Anya Ivanova, who also attempted to kill Asal to prove her worth to SOMBRA.
    • Case 55: El Rey's successor is found and arrested, but he reveals that SOMBRA had been created by Chief Ripley, who confirms that he's telling the truth. During her days as a CIA agent, the Chief had made a deal with SOMBRA (who were still a band of intellectuals at the time) in order to allow the US to invade smaller nations for oil. The US kept using SOMBRA for this purpose until one day, they turned on the organization and ran it into the ground. When SOMBRA resurfaced as an evil cult, Agent Ripley created the Bureau in the hopes that they'll be able to stop it once and for all. No one knew about this except for the Chief, El Rey and the head of Mossad, who refused to allow Ripley to tell anything to her team. Apparently he also refused to say anything to his own agents, leading Asal to believe that the hunt for SOMBRA was just some game, clearing up her conflicts with the Bureau. Before anyone could ask her anything else, Chief Ripley steps down from her position and disappears from the Bureau. Then the President of the US is kidnapped...
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The CIA tries to invoke this on SOMBRA, by using them as means to infiltrate other countries, and attempting to shut them down after they are no longer useful. However, it didn't work. By the time the CIA realizes how dangerous SOMBRA is, the latter have gained enough resources to slip into the shadows and wreak havoc from behind the scenes.

    Mysteries of the Past arc 
  • Advertised Extra: One wonders why Lady Highmore is on the preview images for the arc, as she appears as a suspect in two cases in Elysium Fields and made minor appearances afterwards. This is especially unusual since she's occupying the place usually taken by the chief of police of the season.
  • Alice Allusion: One of the suspects in Case 45 is Alice Riddel, a young girl who carries around a white rabbit, sees delusions of fantastic creatures, and often invites the Player to have a tea party with her.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Rochester family, a prominent and corrupt family in Concordia, has witnessed infighting within. There are few White Sheep among them, such as Leopold, Rockley, Bernadine, and Viola.
  • Bluffing the Murderer: In Case 13, Madeline got the killer to confess by saying that the note they sent to the victim revealed their fear of heights. The accused sealed their fate when they denied writing such a thing on said note.
  • Call-Forward: In chapter 11, we meet several minor characters who mention that they are going to board the Gigantic ship—which, as we already know from the Pacific Bay Arc, is going to sink.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: As the story is set much earlier in time, certain attitudes are different. Viola and Maddie mention being unmarried, and Isaac takes heroin for use as cough medicine.
  • Dirty Cop: The Concordian Police Department is filled with some of these, which leads to the inception of the Concordian Flying Squad as the Internal Affairs to investigate them.
  • Enemy Mine: Bounty Hunter Catastrophe Joan has a bitter history with Rose, who is formerly a bounty hunter herself. But the two made amends in order to bring down Vittorio Cappecchi and his goons when the latter challenged the Flying Squad to a shoot-out.
  • Internal Affairs: The Myth Arc set-up for Season 4. Rumours of the possible corruption within the Concordian Police Force have led to the inception of the Flying Squad.
  • In Vino Veritas: The reason for Anna Jewell's death in "Get off Your High Horse" (Case 40). Anna knew "Princess Eliza Rheinberg of Splichtenstein" had really been Eliza Fairfax, a poor flower girl from when both were childhood friends. Later in life Eliza took on her Princess Persona. Anna recognized Eliza at a soiree, however, and Anna began talking more when she got drunk. Afraid Anna would expose her Eliza initially tried to talk to Anna in the stables, but her temper got the better of her, causing her to bash her one-time childhood friend's head in with a stirrup.
  • Jack the Ripoff: The Scarlet Slayer has several similarities with the infamous Jack the Ripper. Both killers were active during the late Victorian era, primarily targeted female prostitutes, and killed their victims in areas of poverty and corruption.
  • Karma Houdini: Mr. Alastor spent the entire Elysium Fields arc setting up proxy-murders in order to impress Giuletta Capecchi. After his scheme is discovered, he... gets away with all of it because he technically didn't kill anyone and couldn't be convicted by law.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: "Mr. Alastor" eventually ends up being the victim in case #51, "Tipping the Scales", as his father had tried to double-cross Archie's murderer by not intending to honor promises to the murderer made in return for supporting turning Concordia into a family city-state.
  • Loony Fan: The killer of Case 55 killed Judge Takakura for criticizing Justin Lawson, whom she idolized.
  • Nested Story: The plot of Season 4 is derived from the memoirs of Charles Dupont, the great-grandfather of Armand Dupont.
  • Self Offense: The violent gang war taking place in Crimson Bank eventually caused one street kid to accidentally kill another when the former thought he was being attacked by a gang member.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The conclusion of the Ivory Hill arc ends with this. The Flying Squad had spent the entire 6 cases trying to stop the Rochesters from rising to power and enacting a bill that would end free press. They managed to dismantle the family's power and influence over Concordia, only for the bill to be enacted anyway when Justin Lawson becomes the Mayor.
  • Taking the Heat: Leopold Rochester allows himself to be arrested for endorsing investment bonds in a company that doesn't exist even though he's not actually involved in the scam. Larry was the one behind the fake company and Leopold endorsed it, believing that his wayward son had finally made use of his life. When the player revealed the truth, Leopold took the fall in order to protect Larry from being arrested.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Archie Rochester is first introduced as an Ill Boy—who, while somewhat spoiled, is mostly an unobstrusive character. He was briefly sent off to Switzerland for orchestrating a series of proxy murders as Mr. Alastor by the end of the Elysium Fields arc. When he returns, he has become exceedingly egoistical and big-headed, being quick to sing praises to himself and throw insults at others for no reason at all.
    • Justin Lawson is first introduced as a kind judge who cares about justice to a dictator like mayor going crazy because of his ideas of what justice is. For some it's satisfying to see Lawson go from a judge to a tyrannical mayor but for others it was unnecessary and just ruined a good character. However almost everyone in the fanbase was glad Isaac shot and killed him.

    The Conspiracy arc 
  • Anyone Can Die: The Conspiracy does not shy away from killing established characters early on in the season, and even characters who return from previous seasons or recently introduced characters can become victims. For example, Nathan Pandit, Martha Price and Tony Marconi, all of whom are major characters from Season 1, end up becoming victims as early as the first case of the game. The biggest example is lab chief Rupert Winchester's death in Case 32, which comes during the second case in the district.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in the last two cases of the season, where aside from the murder victims, many characters get killed off at certain points of the story without warning. The last three Ad Astrans, Martin Davenport, Otto Kessel and even weapons expert Rita are all victims of this.
  • Back for the Dead:
    • Nathan Pandit, GPD's ex-coroner, is the victim in the very first case, before he can even have a reunion with the player and Jones.
    • Edward Ramis is the victim in Case 6 and has no appearances in Season 5 before his death
    • Ash Bison, who was introduced in the first case of Season 1, is also killed, in Case 14.
    • Martha Price, the mayoral candidate from Season 1's Maple Heights, appears as a suspect in one case and is then the victim of Case 30.
    • Tony Marconi ends up being murdered in Case 36.
    • Zoe Kusama is killed in Case 52, 18 cases after she was last seen.
  • Big Blackout: Case 50 involves one caused by an EMP, done under Ad Astra orders. In addition, the murder takes place around a power plant and the victim is a power plant manager.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Grimsborough police team (sans Grace) and many of the recurring characters from Season 1.
  • Curse Cut Short: Gloria cuts off Jones when she learns Marconi has been released for good behavior.
  • Darker and Edgier: The plot of The Conspiracy is this to the previous four seasons, with a villainous organization whose deeds could give The Crimson Order and SOMBRA a run for their money. And unlike the previous four seasons, absolutely no character is safe, as anyone can become a murder victim and/or villain -including returning characters from other seasons, recently introduced characters and even a main character halfway through the season. The story also keeps reminding the player just how much of a crapsack world the characters are surrounded by, with themes such as mental illness, human experimentation, mind control and loss of loved ones being far more prominent than they were in previous seasons.
  • Deconstruction: In Case 34, the police force's usual Black and White Morality view on murder is challenged when Zoe Kusama, Jones's kind and mellow girlfriend, is arrested for the murder of Dr. Ernesto Vega. Up to this point, the main characters believed that nothing justifies murder and that it is a crime that can't ever be forgiven no matter what the circumstances. However, when Zoe is convicted, a shocked Jones asked her why she would commit murder, and she tells of how she was experimented on for a year by the victim and it was her built-up rage that caused her to lash out and kill him by accident. Jones is taken aback by this, and though Zoe is arrested and put into custody, he can't bring himself to give his usual "nothing justifies murder" speech and is willing to forgive her, understanding that the circumstances of the crime make her a Sympathetic Murderer.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Rita, the team's military-trained weapons expert, takes the overpowered, lethal Berzelium serum and manages to destroy most of Otto Kessel's neohuman army before her powers cause her to explode, taking all of the neohumans with her.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Zoe's plot arc revolving her amnesia (in particular, remembering who Marconi was) is later revealed to be the result of Dreamlife kidnapping and experimenting on her.
    • In addition, Marconi's involvement protecting the dome. He's later killed during the final case around the dome.
    • During Spring Fields, rookie cop Mia asks various times if she can borrow your car. In the end of the district, she's later blown up in your own car.
    • Louis Leroux, a recurring character, is quite involved in the main plot of the story-mostly pertaining to the truth about the meteorite and being Zoe Kusama's friend. However, Jones and the rest of the Grimsborough PD always detect something fishy with him. Not only is he a member of Ad Astra and Rozetta's ally, but he had been keeping tabs on Zoe after she was experimented on.
  • He Is All Grown Up: Julian Ramis, a 12-year-old boy from Season 1's Case 18, returns in Case 5 as an 18-year-old.
  • I Know You Know I Know: This is part of Rupert Winchester's plan to disguise as Mortimer Pickering result in his death in Case 32; The killer, Dr. Kelly, had dated the real Pickering in Oxford, and was shocked that "Pickering" didn't know who she was. When he kept cancelling therapy sessions from her, she put two and two together and realized that it was Rupert playing a prank.
  • Mundane Solution: A recurring criminal gains the power to produce toxic case gas from her fingers that can knock people out in an instant. How do the police contain her? With standard gas masks. She even complains how she got superpowers that are so easily countered when she's arrested.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Meera Kat, an important character in the Money Mile district. She sees nothing wrong with exploiting natural disaster and death for art, and shows no remorse for any suffering she causes in the process. She freaks out the Grimsborough PD with her excitement over such events, and Gabriel becomes convinced that she's a danger to society because of it. She's killed by psychopath Christian Bateman when he lowers the cage she's in into a pool of lava, so she's also an Asshole Victim as her suffering actually thrills him, so it's Laser-Guided Karma as well.
    • Christian Bateman, especially after his release from prison. Although he appears to be a relatively normal and affable businessman, he revels in the pain he can cause others and even himself, to the point where his "release" is eating extra hot food and having fantasies about torturing women. What makes this creepy is the way he carries himself-he not only speaks about this as if it's completely normal, but is fully convinced that he's the most sane person in Grimsborough. When he moves back in with his mother, he becomes a full-blown Manchild who still refers to her as "Mommy", but still has fantasies of pain and torture, this time approaching them with childish glee.
  • Wham Episode: The Conspiracy could give World Edition a run for its money with how many it has:
    • Case 1: When the player comes back to Grimsborough, the first murder they have to solve there is Nathan's, on the day they were supposed to reunite with him no less. The episode also reveals that a satellite fell to Grimsborough a year before the events of The Conspiracy, with some heavily guarded secrets behind it.
    • Case 5: Julian Ramis returns, making him the second character from past seasons to reappear and beginning a trend of bringing back old suspects that will last throughout this season.
    • Case 6: Edward Ramis, another returning character is killed, the first signal that no one is safe during the events of The Conspiracy, even characters from previous seasons. Also, an earthquake hits Grimsborough, which causes massive damage througout the city and unearths an ancient civilization that will play an important role in later districts.
    • Case 12: Zoe Kusama, revealed to be Jones's girlfriend in an earlier case, is found with amnesia, with Tony Marconi being the only person she can recognize. Marconi is revealed to be running a business in The Greens, which prompts the team to investigate further into the titular conspiracy.
    • Case 15: Tony Marconi's business was revealed to be hired by a company called Dream Life, which is guarding the satellite that fell to Grimsborough a year ago. He mentions to the team that Dream Life is up to no good, and the team often find themselves crossing paths with the company many times in the future.
    • Case 19: A cult called The Higher Truth is discovered, whom believe the satellite to be their savior that fell from the sky. It's being lead by Steven Crowe, yet another returning character.
    • Case 25: After disbanding The Higher Truth, the team goes to Maple Heights to tighten security measures, only to find the area deeply flooded. In the midst of the floods, the team finds some strange "Demon Fish", which came from the lost city of Xerda and were feared by the locals there.
    • Case 26: The Demon Fish are revealed to be highly venomous, and start causing severe and even fatal bites to whomever they come into contact with. It's also revealed that someone released them on purpose, having blown up a Xerdan cave to allow them to escape into the flood waters.
    • Case 28: Midway through the case, Martine is bitten by a Demon Fish and is nearly killed, forcing Rupert to work quickly to find a cure for the venom.
    • Case 30: The mayor, Martha Price, is assassinated, which puts Grimsborough in chaos when the news breaks out. After the killer is caught, Rupert switches places with fellow scientist Mortimer Pickering in order to spy on Dream Life, which leads the team into their next district, Misty Grove.
    • Case 32: Rupert's cover is blown and he is murdered, with Jasper being a suspect in the investigation. This establishes just how ruthless Dreamlife is under the dome, and that from now on no character is safe. However, Rupert manages to acquire an access card that allows the Grimsborough PD to infiltrate the dome.
    • Case 33: Barb Bellamy is murdered, and Dreamlife CEO Rozetta Pierre loses all affability as she attempts to pin the murder on Jones throughout the case. Later on, Amir is promoted to lab chief and Mortimer Pickering begins to help analyze clues in the lab, as he vowed to help take Dreamlife down after they killed Rupert.
    • Case 34: Dr. Ernesto Vega is killed, and the killer is Zoe Kusama, who remembers everything about the experiments performed on her by Dr. Vega-including the fact that everyone who went under the dome was killed by the experiments. The team then launch an investigation on what Dreamlife is researching, revealing that they intend to create a drug called Protozane and release it to the public.
    • Case 35: The murder of this case turned out to be the result of Dreamlife scientists sedating the killer with Protozane, the drug found in the previous case. Besides turning patients into submissive subjects, Protozane was proven to have killed the people being experimented on under the dome and caused Zoe's amnesia. Also, it turns out Dreamlife's experiments on the meteorite had caused the earthquake in Money Mile and the floods in Maple Heights, finally giving Judge Powell the evidence she needs to warrant the shutdown of Dreamlife.
    • Case 36: Tony Marconi, who had been important since the beginning of Grimsborough is killed, and the team learns more about him than they knew when he was alive. On top of that, our oldest partner, Jones is a suspect in this case, and the events of Misty Grove drive him to nearly leave the Grimsborough PD. Rozetta and her team are safely behind bars, but it's still unclear what drove her to want to suppress the population of Grimsborough in the first place, leading the team to try and uncover her past at the University.
    • Case 38: After finding nothing but false information about Rozetta in the previous case, the Grimsborough PD finally gets a break in investigating Rozetta's past when they discover Ad Astra, a secret society she had been a part of during her University years. Although nothing else is revealed, there's a very suspicious aura surrounding the group that prompts the main cast to look into it further.
    • Case 39: The team discover that Ad Astra had re-established itself right after the meteorite hit Grimsborough. However, the group's true nature is still kept secretive, with one of its members refusing to comment.
    • Case 40: The team discovers a hidden manuscript written by Rozetta while studying philosophy, detailing the motives of the group. It turns out that her entire motives for founding Dreamlife were a result of her believing in a selective concept similar to illusory superiority.
    • Case 41: After receiving a tip-off from a prisoner, the team discover that Rozetta had recently met up with a fellow Ad Astra member, Azeeb Patel, and gave him the task to get rid off her old philosophy teacher, Kevin Charles.
    • Case 42: Kevin Charles is murdered, and in a surprise turn of events, his murder is revealed to have been planned and committed by all five current Ad Astra members. The team then discover that Rozetta's motivations for having Charles murdered was because he knew the identity of all original Ad Astra members. After the only evidence of the original Ad Astra members is found destroyed, the team decide to investigate Spring Fields in search of Fornax, the only other known member besides Rozetta.
    • Case 43: The team discover that Fornax had bribed the killer of the case to burn down the corn fields. After finding the bribe, they discover that Fornax is a member of one of Grimsborough's two food companies, GrimFoods or AgriMeadows, and decide to investigate the cattle fair to find both.
    • Case 44: It is discovered that Fornax may be part of AgriMeadow, headed by Julia Brine. It is also discovered that AgriMeadows planned the burning of the corn fields as they planned to sell corn seedlings at a lower price, prompting the team to interrogate Brine yet again.
    • Case 45: It is revealed that Fornax is actually Julia Brine. Brine had been behind the burning of the crop fields so she could sell Protozane-filled corn seedlings to the farmers, in a much more discreet way to control the population. In addition, the codenames of the other three Ad Astra members are revealed - Perseus, Orion, and Cassiopeia.
    • Case 46: After solving the murder, the team discovers the identity of another Ad Astra member. Christian Bateman, who was convicted of murder five districts ago, is Orion and the one providing Julia Brine with the funding she needed to build Agri Meadows. However, when the team goes to the prison to ask him what he knows, it turns out that he was released due to the prison deeming that his mental state made him not responsible for murder.
    • Case 47: The team finds Christian, who refuses to tell them anything about what Ad Astra is planning next. However, he lets slip that they have a "Plan Supernova" meant to deal a devastating blow to the Grimsborough PD's efforts, and before the team can figure out what this plan is, an explosion takes place right next to the police station and the case just ends there.
    • Case 48: The bombing in the previous case turns out to have killed Mia Loukas, the beat cop who's been giving new leads to the player since Maple Heights. It's revealed that Mia wasn't the intended target of the bomb, but the player was-and the hit was ordered by Mayor Joe Warren, who is unmasked as yet another member of Ad Astra. The team plan to intercept Mayor Warren as he returns from a business trip, prompting them to investigate the organization further in the Airport district.
    • Case 50: After finding nothing that could take down Mayor Warren, the team is engulfed in a blackout. After solving the murder, it's discovered that Ad Astra was behind it, and that they're venturing into human enhancement. They decide to return to the dome to find new leads on Ad Astra and the meteor.
    • Case 51: It's discovered that Ad Astra's human enhancement involves making them completely invincible. Given that Zoe Kusama may have possibly been tested on, Jones and the player decide to go to the psychiatric hospital to talk to her.
    • Case 52: Zoe is found murdered, and shockingly, the killer turns out to be her friend, Louis Leroux. Right after the killer is arrested, Jones tries to commit suicide, and only survives due to the player's quick thinking. The team also learns from Louis that Zoe had suddenly developed telekinesis-a side effect of the Berzelium that had been tested on her, and probably what Ad Astra had wanted to use for Plan Supernova. The team then decides to investigate Louis's workplace to make sure he isn't hiding any more secrets.
    • Case 53: After solving the murder of Savannah Blake, the player discovers the identity of the fifth Ad Astran: It's Louis Leroux, who not only covered up the truth about the meteorite with his broadcasts, but also conspired to kill Zoe on more than one occasion since she escaped the dome. When questioned about Plan Supernova, he freaks out, telling the player to stay out of it. Before the player can interrogate him again, Cathy informs the team that he had suddenly died.
    • Case 54: Louis' death is discovered to have been ordered by the real Ad Astra leader, claiming that said leader wanted them death because they had outlived their usefulness. When trying to get more information, Rozetta and Julia escape with the use of superpowers gained by Berzelium, and kidnap Jake and Carter Hayes to convince them that the Ad Astran leader is their real enemy. The team them go to Newmark to search for Jake and Carter.
    • Case 55: Jake is found dead in a construction site, while Carter and the Ad Astra members are missing. After the team arrest the two accomplices to the kidnapping, they find out that not only is the leader of Ad Astra Rozetta's mother, but that S.A.R.A. chief Denise Daniels is looking for them, as well.
    • Case 56: After wrapping up a murder in S.A.R.A.'s HQ, it's discovered that not only is Denise Daniels the real mastermind behind Ad Astra, but also [Rozetta's estranged mother, but before anything else can be found out, Denise runs away, leaving nothing behind. The team then find out that Christian is planning to get the Ad Astrans out of Grimsborough by air, leading to their next port of call.
    • Case 57: Christian is found dead, with Julia and Joe being brought back into custody and Rozetta still in hiding. However, it's later revealed that Christian's death was actually a Mercy Kill done by Joe, as Christian had been driven crazy and ill by the Berzelium superpowers. After sentencing Christian, Rozetta reveals that Louis had discovered a secret lab owned by Denise that not even the Ad Astrans could justify.
    • Case 58: The team discover the laboratory, only to discover that Denise, alongside the case's victim, had been creating a completely invincible and extremely resilient species of humans within the lab. However, the real kicker is that not only was Denise behind the activity behind DreamLife, but that she intends to destroy Grimsborough with a repeat of the same earthquake from earlier in the plotline to create a new world order. The team then rush back to the S.A.R.A. headquarters to stop the catastrophe.
    • Case 59: The team find Jon Benson killed by Martin Davenport, S.A.R.A.'s lawyer, who had taken a piece of the meteorite's core for Denise to start the earthquake with. Although the team manage to stop the earthquake, they don't stop Denise from killing Martin and unleashing her neohumans on Grimsborough. With the city on the brink of destruction, Joe Warren and Julia Brine volunteer to defend the city against Denise's army, and Rozetta joins them after the team finally finds her. As they go into battle however, the Ad Astrans realize too late that the neohumans are immune to their powers, and Denise shoots and kills Rozetta before Julia and Joe are caught in an explosion, and the case ends on a cliffhanger.
    • Case 60: Julia is revealed to have died from the explosion, and shortly after, the team finds Denise's severed head in front of city hall. The team has to solve the case as the neohumans run amok around the city, controlled by Denise's killer, and Jones is nearly killed by a blast near the destroyed dome. The killer is found to be Otto Kessel-who reveals himself to be one of Denise's neohumans, disguised as her assistant, who killed her after he could no longer take her abuse. He runs off to lead the army under his control, and Amir ends up creating a superhuman serum that could stop him, but kill whoever takes it. Joe Warren, who had been badly injured by the prior explosion and his powers, dies before he can take the new serum, forcing Rita to do so and sacrifice herself to save Grimsborough. Five months afterwards, while the team still mourns Rita's death, they celebrate Jasper and Amir's wedding...where Jack archer from 10 years in the future picks up the player, saying that his team needs their help.

    Travel in Time arc 
  • Accidental Murder:
    • One of the clues in Case 6, found under a pile of flowers dedicated to the victim, is a paragraph from a book where the protagonist comes to terms with committing this, which is written by the killer. This later turns out to be true; the killer, a local military general accidentally killed the victim after trying to protect them in what was a PTSD-induced episode.
    • While Case 21's killer attempted to remove evidence of murder, they were simply trying to give the victim a shave, but due to the boat rattling and the victim being inebriated, the victim's neck accidentally hit off the blade and killed him.
    • In Case 24, the victim had been hit over the head with a bottle, though it turns out that the killer had only done so to try and scare him away, and had no idea it would kill him.
  • All for Nothing: Case 30 reveals that, despite all the trouble the Temporal Crimes Division went through to try fix the timeline, both their and the Ptolemy Dynasty's mere presence in the past would irreversibly destroy the timeline. Even their last hope of going back to 47 BCE to arrest Nefertiti and Ammon, the last point where history was intact, would create another paradox if they came into contact with themselves when they were investigating Julius Caesar's murder.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • Kushari appears as a profile clue in the first case in Ancient Egypt and has a minor appearance during the Age of Sail, even though Kushari wasn't invented until the 19th Century.
    • In Case 4, one of the clues is that the killer eats tzatziki, a yogurt sauce of Ottoman origin dating from the 14th century, even though the case takes place during Ancient Greece.
    • Nebet has a golden streak in her hair. While hair dye did exist in Ancient Egypt, it was extremely primitive and usually only came out in black. Although considering Nebet is really a princess from an altered version of 2029, it may have been intentional.
  • Bad Present: The fourth district of the season takes place in the Altered Present, 2029 but heavily changed as the result of numerous alterations in history starting with Caesar's premature murder. In this case, Ancient Egypt has conquered the city of New York, which has become a Dystopia ruled by the Ptolemy Dynasty, a family descended from Cleopatra and Mark Antony. In addition, time travel is hidden from the government and the Temporal Crimes Divisions are wanted criminals.
  • Bait-and-Switch Accusation: In Case 29, Jack is swift to arrest Buyantu, a Mongolian monk in Japan, for being the shogun's killer after finding an assassination order on a prayer wheel. It turns out that it's actually Oume, the teahouse owner, who had attempted to assassinate the shogun, although her plan failed in the end.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Right as Ammon is about to kill Amy and the player while stranded on an island, Mary Read steps in and evacuates the team.
  • The Bus Came Back: Amy Young and Jack Archer return as the team co-ordinator and partner, respectively, and Marina Romanova reappears, reprising her role as The Profiler.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Much like Mysteries Of The Past, several examples of this are seen within the season.
    • Homosexuality is seen as an undesirable trait.
      • In Ancient Rome, Brutus was on the risk of being outed by a political opponent.
      • The first victim in the 1960s is a gay man who faced disownment from his father, while the second victim of the 1960s got into a physical alteration with a bartender who suspected him of being gay.
      • In Case 14, the killer, Serap, is in a secret affair with Roxalena, and her motive for murder was to protect her.
      • In Case 24, Jorge de la Cruz had developed romantic feelings for the victim which were reciprocated, but homosexuality was heavily disapproved of during the Age of Sail. When the victim tried to start a relationship with Jorge, the latter is frightened and tries hitting him with a bottle to scare him off, but ends up killing him by accident.
    • As The '60s arc revolves around the Red Scare, anti-Soviet sentiment also pops up. In Case 8, a suspect accused the victim of being a communist for simply drinking vodka, and in the final case, a Soviet ambassador is killed by a senator in the hopes of provoking war with the Soviet Union.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In the final case of the Altered Present, a hologram shows Ramses XLIII sweet-talking Ravi, who claims he'd do anything to prove his loyalty to him. Later on, Shabaka claims that Ramses would send her and Nefertiti out to do errands so he could have flings with the slaves. One has to wonder how Ravi got Ramses off his back.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In the season finale, after being stranded in time for several months and having to deal with being fugitives, being stuck in a wrong present, preventing at least 3 destructive wars from happening, and being betrayed by a False Friend, all the original members of the team manage to survive and return to New York in 2029, where Chief Scott is alive, the timeline is intact as if nothing happened, and the team celebrates with a BBQ.
  • Egypt Is Still Ancient: New Cairo and the Altered Present take heavy influence from Ancient Egypt. Justified in the sense that New Cairo is the result of several alterations to history that gave Egypt an upper-hand, even in scenarios where they were the under-dog..
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The main team becomes this as the season progresses. They weren't particularly close in the beginning, and had even started getting sick of each other in Case 12 after being stranded for so long. However, the hardships they go through for the rest of the season like Nebet's betrayal, being stuck and constantly hunted down in the Altered Present, getting lost at sea and having to prevent an all-out war between two nations brings them much closer than they could've imagined.
  • Foreshadowing: The chapter art of the Renaissance is a parody of "The Last Supper", with Nebet being depicted as Judas. Guess who turns out to be this season's traitor.
  • For Want of a Nail: The Temporal Crimes Division's main role is to prevent these from happening, as time travel is a fairly recent invention in-canon and also attracts rogue time travelers. The plotline is actually kicked off by Julius Caesar being murdered by a rogue time traveler, which, alongside various other anomalies in time, leads to the present becoming an Egyptian Dystopia.
  • The Future: The arc is set in 2029, a decade after the events of The Conspiracy.
  • Historical Domain Character:
    • Case 1 revolves around the murder of Julius Caesar three years before his actual death, with Marcus Junius Brutus and Cleopatra VII appear as suspects. During the Ancient Times arc, Mark Antony and Augustus also appear, with Antony ultimately being a victim.
    • Case 11 features Catherine of Aragon as the victim with both Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn appearing as suspects.
    • Leonardo da Vinci plays a large role in the Renaissance arc, assisting the team in fixing the ship.
    • Age of Sail has Captain Schadrach and Mary Read as major characters who help the team, while Blackbeard appears as a case victim.
    • Medieval Asia has Ogodei Khan (Genghis Khan's son) be sought after by both the team and Ammon Bast, while they also encounter general Subutai and his wives.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Marcus Junius Brutus is the son of Julius Caesar and was only angered by the fact the latter had disowned him. Justified since the game starts off with Caesar being murdered by a T.I.M.E. agent three years before his actual death, so Brutus never conspired to murder him.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade:
    • Augustus is not only a Manipulative Bastard and egotistical, but actually attempts to destroy Egypt rather than conquering it after Caesar's death. Luckily Jack and the player manage to trick him into giving up.
    • Cisneros has Leonardo da Vinci arrested in Case 12 and turns out to be the killer of Henry VIII's wife, Lady Fiore, in Case 15, which is justified in the sense that both of these events, particularly Henry's marriage, were the results of alterations in time.
  • La Résistance: The team allies with one in the Altered Present after solving Chief Scott's murder. Among their notable members are Iron Lady Isabelle Huxley, palace porter Ravi Jabari, and historian Sirius Atwood, who turns out to be Orlando's deceased husband from the original timeline.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Case 12's victim, a Spanish Inquisition executioner, was brutally tortured and killed after his maiden found out he had executed her father for rejecting him. Due to the Inquisition's cruelty, Jack convinces the cardinal to simply excommunicate and banish the killer.
  • Running Gag:
    • Jack's fear of aging is the butt of several jokes from Theo.
    • Janis using the morgue's crematorium to bake cookies and offering them to the player and their partner.
    • Both Kai and Theo pine for the attention of Zara. This results in several Ship Tease moments such as Zara kissing Kai after he recovers from sickness, and then a potential threesome between all three. The conflict ends with them forming a three way relationship.
  • Sick Episode:
    • Case 4 revolves around Kai falling sick with only an Ancient Greek doctor knowing how to solve his illness. Unfortunately, said doctor is accused of murder during the case, halting Kai from being cured until the actual killer is found.
    • Case 24 kicks off with Zara's skin becoming blue and scaly after finding Blackbeard's treasure, resulting in the team having to seek the help of a witch doctor.
  • Wham Episode: Case 17 of Travel in Time, where it's revealed that Nebet had never been Cleopatra's slave, but a princess of the Ptolemy dynasty in the Altered timeline, and she had been working against the team this whole time. This case also has Orlando's husband (who had died in the original timeline) make a surprise appearance after being casually mentioned in a few past cases.

    Supernatural Investigations arc 
  • Creepy Doll: Case 8 has the Island of the Dolls visited as a crime scene. In fact, the killer of the case actually turns out to be an enchanted doll.
  • Darker and Edgier: Fitting for a season about hunting the supernatural, Supernatural Invesigations is this compared to the Lighter and Softer tone of Travel In Time, with killers ranging from rogue vampires to even demons. In addition, recurring characters are also killed off throughout, with a seemingly plot-important character being killed off in the fifth case of the season.
  • Sliding Scale Of Vampiric Friendliness: For the most part, most of the vampires encountered are rather affable, such as both Dr Aculus and Pierce Cromwell, the latter even briefly dating Gwen. Even Bathsheba is relatively peaceful despite her deranged mindset. Meanwhile, Eric Zwart turns out to be the Arc Villain of the West, but his actions were more or less driven by being rejected by Aculus.


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