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Video Game / Criminal Case: Grimsborough

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The saga starts here!
The first game of the Criminal Case series, released on November 15th, 2012. It was later named "Grimsborough", to distinguish it from the others.

The player character begins the game as a rookie police officer in the Grimsborough Police Department, partnered with a detective named David Jones to solve all sorts of gruesome murders in the city. Along the way, they and Jones have to contend with various quirky, shady, and outright bizarre characters, including the bumbling beat cop Ramirez, the mob boss Tony Marconi, and the business mogul Alden Greene.

Grimsborough is divided into six districts, each one with its own set of cases, Story Arc, and antagonists - The Industrial Area, the Financial Center, the Historical Center, the Grimsborough University, the neighborhood of Maple Heights, and the Airport.

Provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Lydia Holly is this to Jones during one of Beautiful No More's side-quests, where she requests that the player character 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.
  • Almost Dead Guy: In The Poisoned Truth, the victim, Rosie Gatewood, manages to tell Jones and the player an important clue to the Crimson Order, "White Acres", just before she dies.
  • Amoral Attorney: At the end of Family Blood, 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 Innocence Lost and Murder on Campus were both unconscious at the time they were put into the situations that resulted in their deaths. In Innocence Lost, 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; in Murder on Campus, the 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 Villain: Each district features a different person (or persons) making things harder for the player during their stay there, being responsible for a lot of the bad things going on during that Story Arc.
    • Industrial Area: A Big Bad Ensemble between Tony Marconi, boss of the Italian mafia, and Salvador Cordero, leader of The Vipers gang, with each one causing havoc in their own way, including against each other.
    • Financial Center: Alden Greene, a Corrupt Corporate Executive whose company Greene Holdings has a stranglehold on the district. He's also financing a Super Soldier project that turns people into killing machines.
    • Historical Center: Margaret Littlewood, a Glory Hound old lady who has been poisoning dogs so her own can win the Dog Pageant Contest. In the district's finale, she also kills one of the owners and attempts to do the same with Jones.
    • University: The Rorschach Reaper, a Serial Killer who hypnotizes students into killing their friends or relatives they hold a grudge against. Eventually revealed to be Tess Goodwin.
    • Maple Heights: At first, it appears to be that Adam Bentley has been behind some of the murders happening across the district in his efforts to become richer and more powerful, but he's killed by Chief King in the arc's finale without any explanation as of why before he commits suicide. Then in the game's final case, it's revealed that the true villains of the district were Howard and Serena Johnson, members of the Crimson Order that ordered Chief King to assassinate Adam after he tried to blackmail them for some of the Crimson Order's gold.
    • Airport: Milton Grimmes, the leader of the Crimson Order.
  • Arc Words: "The right thing," during the University arc.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: The murderer in An Elementary Murder is willing to kill just to make sure that her lesbian relationship remains hidden.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Tyler and Harper McAlister in A Deadly Game are fraternal twins, and yet have near-identical faces and hairstyles. In Real Life, fraternal twins are never identical, and identical twins are always the same sex.
  • Artistic License – Law: Even after being sentenced to life imprisonment at the end of The Secret Experiments, 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 The Grim Butcher, the player character 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 Beautiful No More.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Jones remarked that the victim of Troubled Waters still looks "dashingly handsome" even after being cut in half.
  • Berserk Button:
    • The Greene Bank, and its owner Alden Greene, act as this for Shaun Crosby in Bomb Alert on Grimsborough, 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.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Officer Ramirez gets to be one at the end of the University arc, when the Rorschach Reaper tries to hypnotize Jones into killing the player character. Just as Jones is about to commit the murder, Ramirez bursts into the interrogation room armed with a frying pan and clocks him on the head, breaking the trance and ruining the Reaper's plot. Then he gets to do it again in the final case of the game, successfully taking down the leader of the Crimson Order with the same cookware!
  • 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 The Rorschach Reaper 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 The Secret Experiments, 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, in The Grim Butcher, the victim was found hanging on a hook in a butcher's warehouse.
  • Boom, Headshot!: In It All Ends Here, the victim got a bullet right between the eyes.
  • Boring, but Practical: At the end of "The Rorschach Reaper," Officer Ramirez finds a simple but extremely effective way of breaking the titular serial killer's hypnosis: smacking the victim upside the head with a frying pan. Whatever works!
  • Break the Cutie: Sarah Mills, an 8-year-old girl from An Elementary Murder. 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.
  • Breather Episode: The Historical Center. While most of Grimsborough's districts have the player dealing with either a violent Mob War (Industrial Area), a Corrupt Corporate Executive controlling the entire zone (Financial Center), a dangerous Serial Killer (University), tense and corrupt mayoral elections in a neighborhood full of Jerkass Upper-Class Twit people (Maple Heights), or an outright Ancient Conspiracy willing to kill anyone that interferes with them (Airport), the Historical Center mostly has the player solving "Scooby-Doo" Hoax-esque regular murders in the most relaxed part of the city without anyone in particular provoking them, resulting in plenty of Hilarity Ensues as everyone in the team tries to either prove or disprove the supposed supernatural occurrences haunting the district. In addition, the Arc Villain is also the less threatening one of the season, being just a regular old lady that, while guilty of the nefarious act of poisoning dogs, an owner, and almost killing Jones, at the end of the day doesn't manage to reach the evilness levels that the other antagonists have. Fittingly, the Historical Center also marks the middle point of the game, giving the player some relief from the previous districts while also preparing them for what's about to come in the next ones.
  • Broken Pedestal: In Good Cop Dead Cop, the 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 the 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 A Russian Case, Dimitri Balanchine gives exactly this explanation for the scars on the side of his face when the player character and Jones question him in relation to the case.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Elvira Milton, the gothic girl from The Summoning. 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: In To Die or Not to Die, the victim, a stage actor, had a sandbag dropped on his head. In The Haunting of Elm Manor, the victim died a similar death, only in his case the item was a chandelier.
  • Delayed "Oh, Crap!": Jones has one in Bomb Alert on Grimsborough, when the player character 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 Fashion Victim, Anatomy of a Murder and The Devil's Playground in particular play it very straight—in Fashion Victim, the victim is put on display in her clothing store and another character mistakes her for a realistic mannequin; in Anatomy of a Murder, the victim was cut open, stuffed, and put on display in a museum; and in The Devil's Playground, the victim was run through with a pitchfork and then disguised as a scarecrow.
  • Dies Wide Open: In It All Ends Here, the victim, who was shot in the head, has his eyes open when he's presented in his body-bag.
  • Dirty Cop: In Good Cop Dead Cop, the victim, Ed Dunkin, is known to visit hookers and bet on dogfights, among other things.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In ''Blood on the Trading Floor, the 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, in Marked for Death, the 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 A Russian Case, 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 Killing Me Softly, 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 Family Blood, 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 An Elementary Murder 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 Ramirez, Alex and Grace replacing him in Cases 31, 37, and 48, respectively. From Season 2 onward, there are two or even three partners.
    • 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 3 and beyond.
    • 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 Beautiful No More and An Elementary Murder 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, effectively clearing some characters right at the beginning. 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.
  • Energy Weapon: In Good Girls Don't Die, the victim was shot through the ribs with a hair-removal laser.
  • 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 Burned to the Bone 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 The Secret Experiments. 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 In the Dead of Night, 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!!!
    • A Deadly Game kicks off when the player character and Jones receive a severed finger in a package.
  • Fishing for Sole: In Troubled Waters, the unfortunate Jones discovers the victim this way.
  • Foreign Cussword: In A Russian Case, Anton's son Mikhail called his late father a "svoloch", which is Russian for "bastard".
  • Foreshadowing: Future plotlines and character conflicts are frequently set up cases before.
    • In his first appearance (the players first real case), convenience store owner Joe Stern expresses extreme frustration over the gang activity in his neighborhood. In his last, he's taken matters into his own hands.
  • Frameup: Colin Stokes, the Stalker with a Crush in Beautiful No More, accuses the player character and Jones of "planting" Trixie Velvet's necklace in his studio to set him up as the one responsible for her murder.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • In Fashion Victim, the 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.
    • Ash Bison, the Red Herring for the starter case, eventually becomes the head of the Vipers gang.
  • Frozen Face: In Killing Me Softly, the victim was found with a hideous grin on his face.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Ramirez's 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 At the End of the Rope, 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 Into the Viper's Nest had his skull cracked when a bottle was smashed over his head.
  • Harmful to Minors: Isaac Hersberger, an 8-year-old Amish boy, witnessed the whole murder in The Devil's Playground. It's even worse when it's revealed the murder is his own father.
  • Haunted House: Hector Fernandez's house, in The Haunting of Elm Manor, 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 the player character returns a motorcycle blueprint to him during a side-quest in Into the Viper's Nest.
  • 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 The Devil's Playground, 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 Burying the Hatchet 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 Spring Break Massacre includes this, word for word. So does the killer's explanation to Judge Hall in Blood and Glory.
  • I Have No Son!: Anton Levin, the victim in A Russian Case, 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 the murderer in Under the Knife 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 Beautiful No More, 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 The Poisoned Truth, 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: In A Deadly Game, the 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 the killer's Motive Rant in Beautiful No More 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 the player character, several times, when he presses them to investigate certain crime scenes that he'd rather not get involved with himself (though he winds up accompanying them anyway). Played for comedy a lot of times, such as when they have to investigate a sewer to find critical clues to aid their investigation.
  • Jerk Jock: Chad Baker comes across this way, especially during Spring Break Massacre, 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 The Grim Butcher, 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, the murder in Burned to the Bone was the result of the victim, Chad Whickman, being killed exactly this way.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Happens to the victim in The Rorschach Reaper 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: The player character makes this discovery about the killer in The Dockyard Killer. Three of that case's suspects are left-handed.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Four are shown in Beautiful No More: 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.
  • Locked Room Mystery: The Ghost of Grimsborough involves a murder case in which an old artist suddenly dies in a locked room while painting a portrait. Ramirez thinks a ghost killed him. Jones is not convinced.
  • Loophole Abuse: In Into the Viper's Nest, Marconi files a restraining order forbidding Jones to come near him or his club. What does Jones do? He sends the player character 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. In The Grim Butcher, the 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. In Under the Knife, the victim, a married man, was killed by one of his mistress's lover's jealous fling.
  • Mad Bomber: The killer in Bomb Alert in Grimsborough 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 the player character would've gotten blown up if they 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 Killing Me Softly, 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: The killer in All the King's Horses 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 Murder on Campus, At the End of the Rope and Spring Break Massacre, but later claims it was More than Mind Control.
  • Mental Time Travel: Once an Episode in the Airport arc, the player character and Jones use the power of storytelling and imagination, as well as some "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 the player character off with a shotgun if they come on his property uninvited, but he genuinely cares for animals and is willing to be civil to the player character and Jones.
  • The Mob Boss Is Scarier: Comes up twice so far.
    • Ash Bison explains to the player character 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 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.
    • Played With in Dog Eat Dog. The killer did not intend to kill the victim, but rather her dog, along with several other dogs, so that her own dog would have a better chance of winning the pageant. However, because her modus operandi was via poisoned cupcakes, the victim decided to share with her dog and both died.
  • My Beloved Smother: Daniel Taylor, the victim in The Final Journey, had an aunt who, when the player character 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!
  • Never Suicide: Lisa Edwards in "At The End of The Rope". Her death appears to be a suicide by hanging, but the team later discovers the death was a murder was based on a film being studied in a film course. And that in turn is later revealed to be the work of a serial killer working by proxy.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Sweet, kindly Margaret Littlewood turns out to be the killer at the end of the Historical District arc. Why? Because she wanted to win the local dog show.
  • 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 A Deadly Game'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 The Last Supper, 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" Remark: In Into the Viper's Nest, 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 Into the Viper's Nest, 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 The Summoning.
  • 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 Spring Break Massacre, 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: The murder weapon in The Secret Experiments 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 Death by Crucifixion, 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 the player character as to who the killer is:
    • In The Death of Rosa Wolf, 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 The Grim Butcher, 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 Beautiful No More, 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: In Snakes on the Stage, the victim was eaten by a giant boa.
  • Retronym: This game started getting called "Criminal Case: Grimsborough" once Criminal Case: Pacific Bay got released.
  • Rich Bitch: In Fashion Victim, mall cleaner Odell Toole describes Lucy Campbell, a clothing store owner and the murder victim, as this. In Family Blood, the 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 the player character questions her in A Deadly Game.
    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 the player character and he go to see her in The Summoning. 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 the player character and beat a very hasty retreat.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: A Running Gag during the Historical Center district is that at least half of the murders seem to be linked to the supernatural or the occultism at first, only to be revealed at the end of the case that they were executed by regular people trying to pass them as such. These include a supposed ghost who kills anyone who paints their portrait, a satanic Ritual Magic linked to a Tome of Eldritch Lore, a lake-inhabiting monster that drowns people, a Haunted House angry with its inhabitants, and a Mad Scientist trying to create a Frankenstein's Monster dog.
  • Rookie Red Ranger: The player character gets thrust into this role, ostensibly to help with the growing case-load the Grimsborough police department has to contend with. Fortunately, they are partnered with Jones to help them out and provide support.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Alden Greene. This is also the attitude of the affluent Maple Heights residents, as the killer in Blood and Glory alleges.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: General James Marsh, one of the suspects in The Secret Experiments, calls in Mayor Johnson to convince the player character not to keep him on their 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 Bomb Alert on Grimsborough. 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 A Brave New World 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 Into the Viper's Nest, 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, the victim in Beautiful No More.
  • Stealth Insult: Ash Bison, the former leader of the Vipers gang, pulls this during The Death of Rosa Wolf's side-quest, when the player character 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 Bomb Alert on Grimsborough, 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 Family Blood and Killing Me Softly, 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 The Last Supper 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 Beautiful No More when he suggests that the player character 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 The Last Supper, Dog Eat Dog, and Blood and Glory 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.
  • Tap on the Head: Ramirez does this to Jones at the end of The Rorschach Reaper and to the killer in There Will Be Blood.
  • 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 In the Dead of Night, Ramona Stewart (16 years old) has exactly the same height with Julian Ramis, who is 4 years younger than her.
  • Tempting Fate: The Kiss of Death 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 It All Ends Here, 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: The killer in One Wedding and a Funeral 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 the player character at the end of The Secret Experiments, 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 The Rorschach Reaper'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 It All Ends Here, the player character finds evidence that the Red Party and Blue Party are really the same thing and both are being controlled from behind the scenes. They 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, even though logically Martha would be a member as well.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Jones gets this twice.
    • One side-quest in A Russian Case 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 Into the Viper's Nest, 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: In The Rorschach Reaper, the victim got her head blown off after her tiara was rigged to explode.