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Western Animation / Fillmore!

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Bully: I've got some dice. Let's play a game, roll anything from 1 to 5 and I'll beat you up.
Victim: What if I roll a 6?
Bully: Then lucky you, you get to roll again.

Fillmore! is an animated television series, running from September 2002 to January 2004 for a total of 26 episodes. An animated homage to 1970s Cop Shows, produced by Disney for ABC Kids and then briefly shown in reruns on Toon Disney, this show features safety officers Cornelius Fillmore and Ingrid Third cracking cases around middle school. Many episodes also parodied various films and television series including The Silence of the Lambs.

It was cancelled before its time, for one of the very reasons that made it so good: the entire premise rests on smartly parodying a genre that children wouldn't be familiar with. Like Freakazoid! before it, the watching demographics skewed older than desired, and the rest is history.


Fillmore! provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Aborted Arc: Brad Parnassus is clearly set up as Fillmore and Ingrid's Arch-Enemy in "Ingrid Third: Public Enemy #1", but he never shows up again.
  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: The safety patrol has the power to arrest and punish students, although they are inevitably called out on its failures and actions, and are almost always in danger of being dissolved by Principal Folsom.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The setting of one of many chase scenes.
  • Academy of Adventure: X Middle School can probably be considered the school every kid would want to attend. It's absolutely massive to the point of absurdity, with a diverse student body and faculty ranging from normal to insanely cool while also being a little insane in of themselves. Their after-school activities range from the typical (like the book club or the chess club) to the highly specific (like the model train club and the sandwich club), with all the facilities to accommodate them which includes an Olympic size swimming pool. That's not even getting into the premise of the series where the school's Safety Patrol acts as the police force, and they have to regularly chase troublemakers around the school.
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  • Adults Are Useless: Rarely will they give Fillmore the benefit of the doubt. Deconstructed with Leo during Masterstroke of Malevolence, as he's a security guard who's nothing except helpful to Fillmore and Ingrid's investigation, which is made suspect by how he's not doing anything on his own to find the vandal in spite of it being his job.
  • Affably Evil: Arthur Stanley of "Play On, Maestro, Play On." He's Faux Affably Evil instead when pretending to side with the Safety Patrol.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • The In-Universe reaction to the fall of Robert Chestnut in "Links in a Chain of Honor". "Poor Romlo. Poor, poor Romlo..."
    • in "Next Stop: Armageddon", the perpetrator of the train convention disaster is a beloved train enthusiast whose only motivation for doing so was to get his father's store enough business so that they wouldn't have to close down and move away. When the truth comes out, the perpetrator is kicked out of the train club and blacklisted from ever being involved again.
  • All-Cheering All the Time: In "Codename: Electric Haircut", one of the cheerleaders has the habit of spelling out her emotions. A former cheerleader in disguise later give herself away by spelling something out during routine conversation.
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    • Nelson Kelloch, Checkmatey's opponent in "Of Slain Kings on Checkered Fields", likes a boy band called the Dancey Lads, makes collages of them from magazines in his spare time, and claims he wouldn't give up playing chess for anything "save maybe front-row tickets to Dancey Lads."
    • In the same episode, Checkmatey has a crowd of screaming fangirls who find him cute... and one fanboy.
    • O'Farrell, who sometimes shows a penchant for rather girly things and acts effeminate. In "Red Robins Don't Fly," he also begs to be sent undercover as a member of the Red Robins. He bought the wig and everything, and wears the whole outfit during a staff meeting.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: In "Masterstroke of Malevolence" it's the only episode in which the culprit is an adult who has no ties to the school
  • And Then What?: Used against the culprit in "Play on Maestro, Play on."
  • Appeal to Obscurity: "Who's Charles Laskey?" (Also a Genius Bonus)
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: Frequently played straight and sometimes inverted.
    Vallejo: Principal Folsom isn't sure whether to give you guys a commendation or to give you detention. On the one hand, you put Stainless away. But on the other hand, you destroyed an entire shipment of brushed steel stalls, you ruined a month's supply of macaroni, and you allowed the most notorious graffiti vandal in the history of the school to escape.
    • The Bully Get Back Crew's crimes consist of: Destroying a girl's fashion line, attempting to destroy a computer system, cocooning a girl in toilet paper...and throwing paper balls at some jocks.
  • The Atoner: Fillmore used to be a delinquent. Now he's on the Safety Patrol.
  • Audience Surrogate: Being the new girl, Ingrid fills this role for most episodes. However, Fillmore became this trope when he visited his old partner Wayne in Tennessee in "South of Friendship, North of Honor".
  • Author Appeal: Nearly every cake mentioned in the show has buttercream frosting.
  • Author Tract: The episode, "Test of the Tested" featured the students taking a standardized exam known as "The S.A.T.T.Y.9". One of the recurring dialogues of the episode is that standardized tests are not only ineffective, but are damaging and counterproductive for more creative children and for others who do not test well. Although the points about "bad test-takers" are actually pretty valid, the constant reiteration of the observation reaches Author Tract levels when pretty much every child who takes the test either gripes about how pointless it is, or, the children who actually want to take the test are depicted as rather neurotic overachievers. This might be a result of kids generally disliking tests and willing to agree with whatever gives the results less dominance over their future and the neurotic overachievers just being what they are as part of their character.
    • Notably Ingrid, who is the smartest girl in school, was shown to not really care about the test, whereas the other "good test takers" were all obnoxious stereotypes of The Smart Guy who used words like "Machiavellian" and "reprobate" to describe the person who stole the tests and cried about them being lost to the point of needing a counselor who says things like "they may have stolen your answer sheet, but they didn't steal the answers" while Ingrid cringes. On the other hand, the last may have just been the show turning yet another thing into Serious Business for the kids. There's also the fact that Ingrid mentions that those who wanted to take the test should not have had that denied them.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Cornelius Fillmore. Ingrid Third.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Discussed at the end of "Test of the Tested" where while they got the tests back, the perp got what they wanted too: Elliot only stole the tests in the first place to get the attention of his crush, who protested against the test. When she found out, she was flattered.
  • Balloon Belly: Joyce in "Of Slain Kings on Checkered Fields" after she attempts to break Fillmore's sloppy joe eating record.
  • Bathroom Break-Out: In "Of Slain Kings on Checkered Fields", Checkmatey gets away from Ingrid by going to the bathroom, turning on the shower, and climbing out the window.
  • Becoming the Mask: As an episode regarding the dangers of undercover work, it's not surprising that this trope is invoked, discussed, played straight and averted in "Red Robins Don't Fly".
  • Big Eater: Fillmore
    • Also Joyce from "Of Slain Kings on Checkered Fields".
  • Big Red Button: The Trouble button that Turk pushes at Eliminatrix in "Field Trip of the Just".
  • Bittersweet Ending: "Immune to All But Justice" has Fillmore and Ingrid successfully bust the Canadian diplomat's son and his crew for making the counterfeit baseball cards, but it turns out that Fillmore's love interest (who seemed like a reluctant participant who was trying to help from the inside) stole a bunch of the cards to sell for herself and Fillmore figures it out while they're on a date and breaks it off.
  • Buffet Buffoonery: Fillmore and his dad strategize about which foods to eat to get the most value for their money when planning on going to a buffet.
  • Bully Hunter: An episode had the safety patrol tracking down someone targeting bullies for humiliation, ending with An Aesop about there being better ways to deal with bullies.
  • By-the-Book Cop: In "Ingrid Third: Public Enemy #1", Wayne Ligget, Fillmore's former partner, is said to be this in contrast with Fillmore's Cowboy Cop.
    Fillmore: You're always by the book.
    Wayne: You threw out my book.
  • The Cameo: Spinelli makes a brief cameo in one episode.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin':
    • Fillmore always gets chewed out for the collateral damage resulting from a chase, regardless of whether or not it was his fault.
    • Similarly, the Safety Patrol as a whole is constantly getting chewed out by Principal Folsom.
    • A boy who drew his name on toilet stalls is kept in solitary confinement. Crimes such as making false baseball cards will result in Fillmore hunting you down.
  • Can't You Read the Sign?: In "A Forgotten Yesterday", Fillmore is on a jetski in X's lake, and almost crashes into a buoy mounted with a sign that reads "Watch Out For Floating Signs".
  • Captain Crash: Fillmore. Any mode of transport he takes in a Flashed-Badge Hijack is just about guaranteed to end up in a wreck.
  • Catchphrase: Fillmore's "Disco" and Third's "Crackers"
    • When they find a perp, one of the two main characters, usually Fillmore, will often say, "It's over ____."
    • When frustrated or upset, Fillmore says, "Dog" or "Snap."
    • Occasionally, Ingrid will exclaim, "Ginchy" when she's onto something.
    • Ingrid also gives mention on multiple occasions to her "Photographic memory".
    • Folsom threatening "to turn the Safety Patrol into ____" if they fail.
    • Vallejo angrily yelling: "FILLMORE!"
  • Chase Scene: Once per Episode, and always highly spectacular.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Being a crime show, there's usually at least one per episode.
  • Class Trip: "Masterstroke of Malevolence," to the Modern Contemporary Natural History, Art, Science and Miniature Museum.
    • Ironically not in "Field Trip of the Just" (Fillmore was given a pass out of school for an investigation instead)
  • Clock King: The villain in "Play On, Maestro, Play On" orchestrates crimes that rely on absolute precision timing.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: O'Farrell certainly has a unique perspective on life.
    • Wayne's safety patrol office in Tennessee has one (see "South of Friendship, North of Honor.") His name is Jeter. Like O'Farrell, he's a redhead. Also like O'Farrell, he tends to hyper-focus on weird or minor details. When Fillmore questions him about the events surrounding the crime of the week, for instance, he starts with a description of his favorite sandwich.
  • Cold Cash: Or rather, a Cold Ledger in "A Forgotten Yesterday".
  • Consulting a Convicted Killer: The episode "To Mar a Stall" is one big Shout-Out to The Silence of the Lambs. In it, Fillmore consults with Randall the Vandal, who is kept in a permanent state of detention, in order to gain insight into the mind of the mystery vandal 'Stainless'.
  • Conveniently Placed Sharp Thing: In "Codename: Electric Haircut", Fillmore is able to cut through his bonds with a CD that fell on him when he was being tied up.
  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom: In "The Shreds Fell Like Snowflakes", Fillmore gets dumped on to a conveyor belt at the science fair that threatens to dump him into an artificial volcano.
  • Corrupt Hick: Patrol Sheriff Thrift in "South of Friendship, North of Honor", a parody of the stereotypical corrupt Southern sheriff.
  • Counterfeit Cash: Counterfeit baseball cards in "Immune To All But Justice".
  • Cowboy Cop: Or as close to it as a Disney cartoon can go. As noted elsewhere Fillmore pretends the rule book doesn't exist.
  • Crazy People Play Chess: Checkmatey, the X Middle School chess champion, can be considered a mild case of this.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The villain in "Play On, Maestro, Play On" has contingencies for just about everything. This includes a trap that springs when he picks up his coat if the Safety Patrol should happen to capture him in his hideout.
  • Creator's Apathy: In-Universe example: In "The Unseen Reflection," it's revealed that the author of the Vampirita novels is fed up with her series and is implied to only be continuing it either for the money, or because of her contract with her publishers. This apathy shows in that her latest entry in the series is completely horrible, and a fan's heartbreak after getting their hands an advance copy is what sets off the plot for the episode.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: Parnassus in "Ingrid Third: Public Enemy #1".
  • Cycle of Revenge: Discussed in "Code Name: Electric Haircut" and "A Dark Score Evened" to talk down the culprits before they cross the point of no return.
  • Da Chief: Vallejo, with the voice and outfit to match.
  • Deadpan Snarker: TQ from "The Unseen Reflection".
    • Fillmore and (especially) Ingrid have their moments too.
  • Deliberately Cute Child: Invoked by Ingrid in order to charm a shopkeeper who had just closed his shop for the day to open it for her so she could ask questions pertinent to the case.
    Ingrid: I'm going to put on my 'cute face'. It won't be pretty.
  • Demonic Dummy: A toned-down children's version of the split personality variant happens in "Foes Don't Forgive."
    • O'Farrell once suggested this of a "clobber goblin" toy, but Ingrid shut the idea down by pointing out they can only walk two steps before falling over.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: "A Cold Day at X". Fillmore is trapped inside the school during a blizzard and has to stop a gang of students who break in planning to steal the answer key to an upcoming test.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: With a Canadian diplomat's son and his counterfeit baseball card ring. Justified in that this isn't an actual universal rule, this was just something Principal Folsom decided on her own because she really didn't want a diplomatic incident after the last one.
  • Disaster Dominoes: The destruction of the train convention in "Next Stop: Armageddon". One model train goes off the track, shattering the model cliff face and derailing the second one on that display, which flings a carriage across the room to hit the Martian-themed track. This sets off the working rocket they had included for some reason, sending the circus display's Ferris wheel spinning into the hot dog cart, knocking it over and spilling water across the floor. People start slipping on the water and knocking over tables with more trains and dioramas on them, and everything ends up in pieces.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • The culprit of "Field Trip of the Just" gets one of the harsher punishments in the series, despite being one of the more sympathetic culprits. On the other hand, the crime of the episode (poisoning a beloved lab pet to where people didn't know if it would recover) was also one of the more serious crimes by this show's standards, but earlier it was made clear that the harshness of the punishment was only because Principal Folsom took the crime personally due to having a pet spider herself when she was a young girl.
    • Principal Folsom also frequently threatens the Safety Patrol with this kind of thing (like shipping them to Kazakhstan) but naturally never does any of them. She's offended when Fillmore alluded to a punishment she gave that wasn't as harsh as it could have been.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: A cornerstone of the series as the plot of each episode is meant to evoke real world crimes that have been adjusted to fit a middle school setting and a cast of the appropriate age range (i.e. scooter thefts for grand theft auto).
    • The relationship between the dance partners in "The Currency of Doubt" is clearly designed to look like a troubled marriage; this is boosted by the media's horrified murmuring when the girl states they are "separating".
    • The Red Robins are all but called a gang, only it's candy sales instead of drugs.
    • In one episode, Vallejo tries to give up cocoa and starts chewing gum, which is what most people do when they're trying to quit smoking. It also parallels how many police officers go through caffeine addiction due to all the coffee they drink.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: O'Farrell has this problem in "A Wurm in Our Midst."
  • Double Standard: Invoked in "To Mar a Stall". While visiting Randal the Vandal in detention, Ingrid and Fillmore are asked to surrender any writing utensils. The guard gets pushy with Ingrid asking if she has any lipstick or eyeliner. Fillmore, deciding to mess with the guard a bit, tells him he doesn't have any eyeliner or lipstick either, thanks for asking. Of course, It Makes Sense in Context on the guard's part, because even those would be enough for Randall to use.
  • E = MC Hammer In episode 9, Fillmore and Ingrid visit a pre-algebra class, after the teacher pulls up a screen, there are several problems displayed on the board, none of which are pre-algebra problems, such as "x-y=16" which has infinite solutions and other complex, multi-variable solutions that would be WAY too complex for a middle school pre-algebra class.
  • Easter Egg: Though never spoken in series, the First name of the X middle school principal is shown on the door in the pilot episode: Dawn S. Folsom.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Ingrid, as you can tell by the picture.
  • Elaborate University High: X Middle School is massive, and it has all the industrial capabilities of a small city. Some common landmarks include a corn maze, large compost piles, a full-size theater, at least two floors, a basement, easy roof access, a lake with a dock, an RC track, an events hall, a greenhouse, an huge pool, a bocce ball stadium, multi-room safety-patrol HQ, a hallway accessible sauna, and an orchard. And that's not counting the classrooms.
  • Endangered Soufflé: In "A Forgotten Yesterday", Fillmore "accidentally" ruins a rude suspect's souffle by popping an inflated paper bag.
  • Engineered Public Confession:
    • In "South of Friendship, North of Honor", where Fillmore taunts the southern chief commissioner into a full confession, not realizing that Wayne Ligget was holding a microphone that broadcast his confession to the whole school.
    • Fillmore also pulled this on a suspect, a sleeptalker in "A Forgotten Yesterday" by asking him while he's asleep (and sure enough, he does confess).
      • The same episode has Fillmore setting up a sting that catches the episode's perpetrator in the end too.
  • Excited Show Title!: The exclamation mark is part of the show's name.
  • Expy: Randal Julian ("Randal the Vandal") is an obvious kid Expy of Hannibal Lecter ("Hannibal the Cannibal").
    • Redheaded photographer who sometimes falls into Butt-Monkey status? Where have we seen that before?
    • Vampire related thriller series that took a hardline dip in quality whose author has started to crank them out shockingly fast and focus more on "romance"? Are we describing episode 21's novel series or Anita Blake?
  • Even the Guys Want Him: In "Of Slain Kings on Checkered Fields," when Checkmatey's groupies are tearing at his clothes, there is a male groupie there as well.
  • The Family That Slays Together: Red Robins, not technically family, but that what's makes them "team".
  • Fantasy Helmet Enforcement:
    • During the hijack of skateboards, bikes, etc. (See below), the duo take the safety gear, too.
    • Works against them in "This Savior, a Snitch" since Augie needed a helmet and got the leader of one side in a mock war's to use (it was the only one that fit his head). Cue the other side trying to pummel them with custard (which Augie is allergic to).
    • In one episode, a perp hijacks an old-fashioned penny farthing bicycle and puts on what appears to be a wooden bike helmet.
  • Fast-Roping: Done at the end of "Immune To All But Justice" by the Safety Patrol.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Arthur Stanley of "Play On, Maestro, Play On." when pretending to side with the Safety Patrol.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: A lot of the "crimes" in the show are pretty overblown, as one would expect from a parody of cop shows set in a school. Like virtual pet-napping. Or stealing tartar sauce packets from the cafeteria.
    • Which makes some of the more serious crimes (poisoning of a beloved lab pet, the bully hunter's later methods, someone trying to ruin Vallejo's career as commissioner, stealing all the books in the library) all the more shocking.
    • One of Fillmore's past crimes that really was shocking was crushing the school mini golf team's spirits and taking all their clubs and trophies for not letting a delinquent like him try out. Naturally this one was later righted.
  • Fighting Back Is Wrong: In an episode the bullies are presented as being bad people. But the Bully Hunter targeting the bullies with pranks in a manner similar to a G-rated version of a serial killer is presented as being just as bad, if not worse.
    • It should perhaps be noted that this example actually calls out the potentially broken message of the trope. Filmore chides the Bully Hunters for taking extremes against their tormentors, they retort that he's telling them to just sit back and take their abuse. Filmore points out there are other more lawful ways to deal with these problems, talk to guardians or seek assistance from the teachers.
  • Five-Token Band: You may have noticed the black protagonist, Latino chief, Asian (officially Japanese-American) forensics whiz and Italian-American...whatever it is Anza does (one episode implies he's a bodyguard).
    • Ingrid may or may not be at least 1/2 Japanese- or Chinese-American. "A Cold Day at X" has a brief bit of dialogue that indicates her dad may be of this ancestry. Her dark hair, pale skin, and almond-shaped eyes—though they are green—support this as well.
    • Don't forget that O'Farrell is probably Irish-American or a combination of Scots-Irish. He even wears a kilt in an episode or two.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The show is filled with them, often in the form of a Parental Bonus:
    • In ''Next Stop: Armageddon, some students who are splattered with frosting when Fillmore crashes Folsom's birthday party are wearing shirts that say "Students Against Frosting".
    • One chase scene has Fillmore crash into a piles of boxes from the "Cliché Box Company", and another has him run through a banner that says "Hurrah for Banner Club!".
    • In "Red Robins Don't Fly", you can see a sign on the front of Ingrid Third's house that says "I Don't Know Who's On Third's Porch".
  • Gamer Chick: Ingrid is shown to be one in "Play On Maestro, Play On". She also remote controls a robo fighter from home in another episode to help Fillmore.
  • Geographic Flexibility: According to The Other Wiki, X Middle School is located in Minnesota, but the accents, ethnicities, and climates are diverse enough to the point where it could be located almost anywhere.
  • Girl Scouts Are Evil: In "Red Robins Don't Fly", the Red Robins - X Middle School's version of the Girl Scouts - are running a protection racket.
  • Granola Girl: Stella Valencia from "A Dark Score Evened," who is so passionate about vegetarianism that she seems to protest the cafeteria food 24 hours a day.
    • One of the members of X Middle School's alternative art club, The Starving Renoirs, is one of these. She makes projects from clay made of oatmeal hummus and unshelled buckwheat, dresses in stereotypical clothes, and doesn't believe in indoor plumbing.
  • Green Around the Gills: O'Farrell in "Next Stop, Armageddon." When he sees the sight of a model train wreck, a shade of green appears on each of his cheeks, as he gets the urge to throw up and heads for the restroom.
  • Groupie Brigade: Checkmatey has one in "Of Slain Kings on Checkered Fields."
    • Quite a few club leaders have this as well, like the head of the train club.
  • Happy Ending Override: For Wayne Liggett, who at the end of "Ingrid Third, Public Enemy No. 1" was shown to have a decent life in his new school in Tennessee with his partner Emily. By the time we next see him in "South of Friendship, North of Honor", he's knee-deep in the Patrol Sheriff's corruption and Emily quit the force.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The Bully Get Back crew. They start with harmless stunts like throwing paper balls and pouring liquid on people but they cross the line when they try to paper mache one of their victims and threaten to destroy a multi-thousand dollar computer network over a confiscated modem.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: Occasionally scooters, rolling chairs, a golf cart, pogo sticks, and even a floor waxer.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: The closest thing Fillmore has to a love interest is the redheaded Penny Madrid. Averted when he rejects her.
  • High-Dive Escape: Done literally in the opening sequence. Fillmore and Ingrid are cornered by a pair of thugs on top on a high diving board. They look at each other, and then turn and jump off the board into the pool.
  • High-Speed Hijack: At the start of "Codename: Electric Haircut", Fillmore jumps from his skateboard on to the back of a stolen bank of lockers that are being towed by a golf cart before clambering over the lockers into the golf cart to fight the driver.
  • Honor Before Reason: In "Foes Don't Forgive," a magician is accused of stealing a robot dog during a magic trick. He refuses to explain how the trick is performed, even though doing so will help them solve the case, to honor the Magician's Code.
  • If I Can't Have You...: In "Nappers Never Sleep," the true culprit has this attitude.
  • Indy Hat Roll: In "Masterstroke of Malevolence", Fillmore and Ingrid slide under the closing security door in the museum as they chase after Leo.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: This is how Fillmore discovers that Penny Madrid, a temporary love interest, was the one who stole the Cal Ripken baseball cards. How does Fillmore figure that out? After he's already caught the baseball-card-counterfeiting villain of that episode, he isn't satisfied, and he tells Penny that there are lots of baseball cards that are still missing. Penny tries to comfort Fillmore by telling him not to worry, the missing Cal Ripken cards will turn up sooner or later. But wait, how did Penny know they were Cal Ripken cards? Fillmore didn't even tell Penny what team the player belonged to, much less which specific player it was!
  • Inspector Javert: Truant Officer Langley Turk in "Field Trip of the Just".
  • Inspiration Nod: The theme naming, in which the characters' names are streets in San Francisco, acknowledges the show's debt to the archetypal police procedural series The Streets of San Francisco, complete with the Quinn Martin-esque announcements ("Today's Episode: 'Immune To All But Justice'!") - and the Quinn Martin-esque episode titles (put the likes of "Next Stop, Armageddon" and "The Nineteenth Hole Is A Shallow Grave" in among the likes of "Image In A Cracked Mirror" and "Wind It Up And It Betrays You" and it would be hard for non-buffs to tell which were from the cartoon and which weren'tnote ). Incidentally, The Streets Of San Francisco really did do an episode called "School Of Fear".
  • In the Hood: Hooded sweatshirts are probably the most common means of identity concealment for wrongdoers in the series.
  • Karma Houdini: Parnassus in "Ingrid Third: Public Enemy No. 1" has his lackey take the blame for him when the evidence disappears and gets away with it with his own punishment being that Fillmore gives him a stick of hot gum and he runs away in clear discomfort.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: While in-episode Ingrid terrorizing Jamie was seen as a sign of her possible Becoming the Mask to get in with the Red Robins and was played as a Kick the Dog moment, that victim later was found to be the mastermind behind a major lunch-stealing ring and almost got Fillmore expelled, making the scene more than a little satisfying on re-watch.
  • Kid Detective: A rare example of kid detectives acting like police investigators (thanks to the premise) rather than private investigators.
  • The Killer Was Left-Handed:
    • In "The Shreds Fell Like Snowflakes", the hall monitors find that someone has been shredding other students' important papers. From the angle of the shreds, they determine which hand the shredder used to place the papers in. Turns out, it was all of the victims, working together to frame a non-existent shredder.
    • Also in "To Mar A Stall" Fillmore and Third figure out that the person who had defaced the bathrooms had to be left-handed because of the way their letters overlapped. The girl who did it was mad that they weren't using the brushed steel she'd argued for over 50 times.
  • The Klutz: Alexandria Quarry tends to be this, as she is shown twice. When she accidentally lets a pencil slip from her grasp, striking another student off-screen and when she breaks Ingrid's gargoyle statue.
  • Large Ham:
    • While the major villains in the show avert this, (in contrast to most Disney media) "Mon Ami", spoke in such a manner.
    They said that I overact! Imagine that! ME!
    • Also Checkmatey in "Of Slain Kings on Checkered Fields."
    • Principal Folsom has very hammy dialog.
    • Vallejo has his moments as well.
    • "The Shreds Fell Like Snowflakes" depended somewhat on this trope. The perp paid off her drama club friends to act traumatized after they shredded their own pet projects. Her motive was to get back at Vallejo, who she blamed for her gifted profiler brother's being expelled from the force.
  • Last-Name Basis: All of the Patrollers; Ingrid is the only one consistently called by her first name. Made into a joke in one episode, where when Folsom announced Vallejo's reappointment to Jr. Commissioner of the Safety Patrol, the microphone squeaked when she said his first name.
    O'Farrell: Would you please stop referring to me in the third person? I'm standing right here!
  • Location Theme Naming: Most of the characters' last names are streets in San Francisco. Given that many of the streets themselves are surnames in the first place, the character's names usually sound quite normal.
  • Lost in the Maize: "Two Wheels, Full Throttle, No Brakes". Of course X Middle School has its own corn maze. Why wouldn't it?
  • Love Makes You Evil: Despite the show being mostly No Hugging, No Kissing, episodes “Test of the Tested”, “Nappers Never Sleep”, and “Field Trip of the Just” reveal crushes as the perps underlying motive.
  • Low Clearance: In "Next Stop: Armageddon", the perp of the week pulls a Train Escape by uncoupling the engine of a miniature train from the carriages, leaving Fillmore behind him. However, he stands up to gloat and takes himself out as the engine enters a tunnel.
  • Luminescent Blush: In "A Forgotten Yesterday", flush appears on an angry Peabody's cheeks after he's insulted by Vallejo.
  • A MacGuffin Full of Money: The briefcase full of smites (tokens found on dairy bars and packets of chips and used to buy basically anything a kid could want once enough of them are saved up) serves this function "The Currency of Doubt".
  • Mini-Golf Episode: The episode "The Nineteenth Hole is a Shallow Grave" is dedicated to Fillmore (who was an excellent mini-golf player in his delinquent days) going undercover when mini-golf players at the school appear to be throwing their matches. Like everything else in the series, mini-golf is treated as Serious Business, with everyone taking it as seriously as professional golf.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Ingrid when she first transferred into X.
    • Fillmore himself had shades of this in his delinquent days, as many of his crimes we know of (the rocket at the custard spill and the golf team thefts for example) were motivated by people not willing to give him a chance. The first person who did give him a chance, his former partner, showed his true nature.
  • Motorcycle Dominoes: In "Play On, Maestro, Play On", a kite yanks over a pushbike triggering a domino chain of bicycles as part of the Rube Goldberg Device used in stealing the Ultrabox.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The show ran on it. Special mention goes to Check Matey, the hip-hop spouting, fangirl-attracting chess player.
  • Mustache Vandalism: This is the 'crime' committed in "Masterstroke of Malevolence". Fillmore and Third must discover the identity of the vandal before the ink dries so the restorer can identify the brand of marker used and save the portrait. The episode had a played with this trope in an interesting way, as the 'vandal' turns out to be the portrait's original artist who considered the mustache to be a key missing feature of the picture.
  • Nerdy Bully: One shows up in 'A Dark Score Evened.' After the Bully Hunter team dealt with some more traditional bullies, including a Jerk Jock and an Alpha Bitch, they deal with Horace, an obnoxious kid in the IT department who spent most of the episode mocking everyone for not being as good with computers as he was. Horace protests to the squad that he can't possibly be a bully because he's just a computer geek, but the squad points out that he's just as adroit at hurting people and making them feel small as their first victims.
  • New Old Flame: Penny to Fillmore in "Immune To All But Justice". Turns out to be a Fille Fatale as well.
  • Ninja Log: In "Play On, Maestro, Play On", Fillmore goes to tackle the Ultra-Box thief only to find thief has somehow put his jacket, wig and tray on a dummy.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Well, not completely. There's plenty of crushes and hugging among the secondary and one-off characters, but not between the main cast and there's no kissing other than Fillmore's old partner receiving a chaste congratulatory kiss on the cheek from a classmate after he gets promoted to School Patrol Sheriff.
    • A lot of the villains were motivated by crushes, including in "Test of the Tested" and the girl who poisoned a beloved lab spider because she thought her crush disliked taking care of it (he actually loved it).
  • Non-Giving-Up School Guy: Truant Officer Langley Turk in "Field Trip of the Just". He plunges all the way into Inspector Javert territory, hunting Fillmore all the across the city and ignoring the fact that Fillmore had a note form the principal permitting him to be out of school; having decided on the basis of Fillmore's old record that it must be a forgery.
  • Noodle Incident: A surprising amount for a series with only 26 episodes. For example, in "Foes Don't Forgive," Dewey's friend Kip Fontanello mentioned a "mustard incident" as a reason his mom deemed him too irresponsible to get a dog. Folsom tends to refer to these as reasons the Safety Patrol simply must solve cases—and make her look good.
  • No Periods, Period: Subtly averted: in a scene in "To Mar A Stall", you can clearly see a tampon container inside a girl's bathroom stall.
  • Not Me This Time: Sometimes occurs when a known troublemaker is actually not the Villain of the Week. Notable with Tony Clementina, who Fillmore wanted to blame for a library book heist, when the perps were actually the school book club.
  • Not So Different: Malika and Ingrid. Malika was even once a Safety Patrol member sent to infiltrate the Red Robins.
    • However, Ingrid ultimately makes a different choice than Malika did. Ingrid is tempted as Malika was, but ultimately Ingrid completes her assignment.
  • Not So Harmless: While most of the culprits are completely harmless, Francine Bishop nearly killed Fillmore. Twice. Though the first time she probably didn't plan it.
  • Obfuscating Disability: More than once, actually. Appears in both "Play On, Maestro, Play On" and "The Currency of Doubt."
  • Occidental Otaku: TQ Shrader is obviously caucasian, but is heavily invested in Japanese culture with the food he eats, the way he dresses, mannerisms and tea ceremonies. Worth noting that he has no visible interest in anime and manga, and is more akin to a "classical otaku" that was interested in Japanese traditions before its modernization.
  • Officer O'Hara: O'Farrell is a kilt-wearing ginger security member. Now, make an educated guess.
  • One-Hour Work Week: The kids at X don't seem to spend too much time in class. That or there's extremely long periods between classes and during lunch and the kids all stay after school for various clubs and such.
    • Fillmore and Ingrid visited the Smoit casino midday and there were plenty of kids there, implying either a generous lunch period or a whole lot of class cutting.
    • On the other hand, almost every episode has someone late to a class or a club as an excuse.
  • One-Track-Minded Artist: One pretentious character in "To Mar a Stall" remarks, when busted, "Yes! I draw toilets. Beautiful toilets. The perfect marriage of form and function, of style and substance, of water and porcelain."
  • Outside Ride: In "Codename: Electric Haircut", Fillmore clings to the back of the stolen lockers as they are being driven away, before climbing over the top to perform a High-Speed Hijack.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": According to "Two Wheels, Full Throttle, No Brakes", 9 out of 10 kids use their birthday as their bicycle lock combination. It turns into a Chekhov's Gun since it later allows Fillmore to use Vallejo's bike in the chase scene.
  • Perverse Sexual Lust: The teacher in "Masterstroke of Malevolence" is revealed very early on to be crushing on the subject of the painting "The Lobstermen At Port". One of the art museum personnel turns up really quickly, bearing an extremely awkward expression, to get her to stop, presumably to spare everyone the need for Brain Bleach.
  • Pet's Homage Name: Fillmore has a goldfish named Thelonius (after jazz musician Thelonius Monk). After Thelonious dies, he is replaced by a goldfish named Miles (after Miles Davis).
  • Photographic Memory: Ingrid can't forget anything. While this is useful for investigations sometimes it backfires...
    Ingrid: I didn't need that in my photographic memory.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Throughout the whole series there was never even a single hint that Fillmore and Ingrid wanted to be more than friends.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: O'Farrell, an upbeat and enthusiastic character who supplies many of the funniest moments in the show. Not all of them on purpose.
  • Plot Hole: The series had two:
    • In "Nappers Never Sleep", Fillmore tells Ingrid, when she mentions her sister, that he didn't know she had a sister, when she told him this at the very beginning of the episode and it's nowhere implied he was ignoring her or not paying attention.
    • In "The Shreds Fell Like Snowflakes", Frank Bishop tells Fillmore that he thought about their earlier conversation, specifically what Fillmore said about innocent people getting hurt, and that's what made him decide to help despite not being fond of the safety patrol. Thing is, Fillmore never said anything to that effect during their conversation.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Checkmatey, X Middle School's rapping chess grandmaster in "Of Slain Kings on Checkered Fields".
  • The Profiler: Frank Bishop, Vallejo's old partner in "The Shreds Fell Like Snowflakes". He is called back to duty to profile the mysterious Shredder who shredding various students' pet projects.
  • Rail Enthusiast: The model train club is full of rail enthusiasts, to the point of holding conventions and having a rivalry with the RC car club.
  • Recurring Extra: The show had a large cast of background characters with certain ones showing up in multiple episodes. Most of them would end up as suspects, victims etc in specific episodes.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: Part of the villain's signature in "Play On, Maestro! Play On!"
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: George, the main antagonist of "A Cold Day At X", immediately recognizes Fillmore as this sort of person, and when one of his wealthy fellow would-be test stealers suggests buying him off, George instantly shoots this down as an incredibly stupid idea:
    Carter: I say! Can't we simply pay this Fillmore fellow to give us what we want?
    George: He spent... the whole night guarding that test. Does that sound like someone who can be bought!?
  • Serious Business: This is really the main trope that fuels the humor for the show. Even though the cast is largely made up of kids in middle school, they treat their hobbies and school club activities as seriously as any character on Law & Order.
  • Scout-Out: The Red Robins are a Scout-Out version of the Girl Scouts in "Red Robbins Don't Fly", who are running a protection racket.
  • Soapbox Sadie: X Middle School has a few. Enid Quintara is passionate about ending the SATTY-9 test, to the point of protesting in front of Folsom's office. Stella Valencia, a militant vegetarian from "A Dark Score Evened," is the same way.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: For the culprit who poisoned the lab spider in "Field Trip of the Just" since she thought it would make her crush happy since he always complained about taking care of it for the teacher while he actually loved it and just complained for the sake of keeping up his rep. When she finds out, she's horrified.
  • Sheet of Glass: Parodied. The characters run through a giant cube of gelatin, which also allows them to parody Slow Motion shots.
  • Shipper on Deck: Wayne Ligget ships Fillmore/Ingrid. Without knowing Ingrid, only having read about her in Fillmore's letter.
  • Ship Tease: Between Fillmore and Penny in "Immune To All But Justice" until the end.
  • Shout-Out: The show often included homages to other stories that probably went over the heads of a lot of the younger audience members.
    • For example, there was a genius art student turned graffiti artist kept in "a permanent state of detention" without access to art supplies, known by the name "Randal the Vandal".
    • Same episode: the plot revolves around toilets being graffitied, and types of art. One pretentious character remarks, when busted "Yes! I draw toilets. Beautiful toilets. The perfect marriage of form and function, of style and substance, of water and porcelain." There's a very famous (and originally very controversial) piece known as the Fountain, a urinal tagged with R Mutt. The original was destroyed, but remains immortalized in a photograph. One wonders how much the writers and animators were making a tribute to their art history classes...
    • There's also a Pokémon reference in the early Season 1 episode "Test of the Tested" when Fillmore and Ingrid are chasing after Augie Samson and they run through a cheer practice. The cheer director remarks that the pyramid the cheerleaders make is "as solid as a Geodude using its Harden attack".
    • In the model train episode, a subplot is focused on the death of Fillmore's goldfish. The goldfish is named "Thelonious." Later, he gets a replacement, and calls it "Miles."
    • In one episode, Fillmore and Ingrid interrogated the son of a Canadian diplomat, who rubbed Fillmore the wrong way. On his way out, Fillmore "accidentally" knocks over a bottle of maple syrup, spilling it over the floor, then said, "Oh, I'm sorry. Did I do that?" In another episode, Fillmore "accidentally" ruins another rude suspect's souffle by popping an inflated paper bag, then stating the same line.
      • In the same episode, Ingrid runs a distraction by posing a eco rights activist for pine trees. One of her lines is "Who speaks for the trees!?"
    • If loving Checkmatey is a crime, then I plead guilty in the first degree!
      • Principal Fulsom also says Checkmatey "can make those bishops dance like Britney with a boa."
    • Ingrid says she has an eggplant that looks like Fred Durst.
  • Skeleton Key Card: In "Test of the Tested", Ingrid uses her library card to spring the lock on the equipment storeroom in the basement of the gym.
  • Soul Brotha: Fillmore, quite often.
  • Stealth Pun
    • In the episode "Test of the Tested," a panicked student barges into a crime scene and starts a round of incoherent complaining before Fillmore silences him with a splash of water. Fillmore then reveals this student's name to be "Willie" in an offhand comment. Coupled with the fact that this kid ran in from the swimming pool, and was still in full swim attire (plus a cow inflatable), you could say he was a "wet willie."
  • Stolen by Staying Still: When Fillmore visits his former partner Wayne's school and all of the pralines the school was planning to sell get stolen mysteriously from a secured brick vault, Fillmore and Wayne eventually figure out that the pralines had actually been hidden inside the vault itself, their boxes painted the color of brick (with food coloring to prevent anyone from smelling paint) and stacked up against the wall.
  • "Strangers on a Train"-Plot Murder: "A Dark Score Evened", only without the murder.
  • Straw Fan: "The Unseen Reflection" has three different straw fangirls.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The episode "South of Friendship, North or Honor" has a southern Expy of O'Farrell named Jeeter at the school of Fillmore's former partner, Wayne. He's goofy, he doesn't get a lot of respect by his fellow safety patrollers, and ends up helping Fillmore and Wayne find evidence that his safety patrol commissioner is dirty
  • Sympathetic Criminal: Some of the culprits have motives that are understandable and even outright sympathetic. That said, the characters only look at them as sympathetic, not justified.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: In "The Currency of Doubt", Toby ends up the prime suspect in the stealing of the Smoit stash he and partner Tina built together after claiming to have been home sick that day as he has no one to confirm his alibi. After Fillmore's curiosity is peaked when they don't find the stash and Toby informs him that his gambling debts, the reason he was a suspect in the first place, are still unpaid, he and Ingrid go through Tony's locker where they discover he was set up by having his hard-boiled eggs, something he was fairly known for eating, replaced by cheese eggs, which, since Toby is lactose intolerant (a fact established early in the episode), naturally sent him home with stomach trouble.
  • Third-Person Person: Derrick Minna in "Two Wheels, Full Throttle, No Brakes." He is constantly referring to himself as 'Derrick Minna', especially in his press conferences, and only ever uses the word "I" by immediately following it up with ", Derrick Minna".
  • Troperiffic: Concerning Cop Shows, at least, to the point that one can predict the entire episode from the basic premise.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Vallejo loves his hot cocoa, and can also usually be seen with some canned pasta on his desk in most episodes.
  • Train Escape: The villain in "Next Stop: Armageddon" attempts the 'uncouple the train carriages' version to get away from Fillmore. On a miniature train.
  • Traintop Battle: In "Next Stop: Armageddon", Fillmore chases the perp of the week across the roof of a miniature train.
  • Tricked into Signing: Fillmore tricks Commissioner Vallejo into signing a requisition form for an expensive new set of walkie-talkies by almost knocking a lamp down on him and then confusing him with slang. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: In-Universe, several of the artistic children are presented as eccentric and unusual. One kid even dumps paint on himself as a form of art.
  • Turn in Your Badge: In "A Forgotten Yesterday", Fillmore is suspended from the Safety Patrol when a cache of bootleg hall passes is found in his desk.
    • Wayne ends up manipulated into this by his corrupt commissioner who places personal photos on Wayne's desk, claims it's a violation of protocol and demands Wayne's badge. This is revoked when Fillmore and Wayne bust him.
  • Unconventional Vehicle Chase: In one episode, Fillmore does a Flashed-Badge Hijack to commandeer a floor buffer to pursue a suspect.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: While working a case to recover a binder full of term papers, Fillmore had the brake lines in his bicycle replaced with ketchup and mustard dispensers.
  • Villain with Good Publicity:
    • Aside from making the evidence disappear, Parnassus in "Ingrid Third: Public Enemy No. 1" is able to avoid punishment not only by having his dim-witted associate take the blame, but because Parnassus' accomplishments and services to the school are so good, Folsom refuses to believe he did anything wrong.
    • Derrick Minna, A.K.A. Stingray.
  • Vomiting Cop: O'Farrell in "Next Stop, Armageddon". When he sees the sight of a model train wreck, he gets the urge to throw up and heads for the restroom.
  • Way Past the Expiration Date: The end of one episode had all the safety patrollers hanging out at Ingrid's house. O'Farrel is eating raw cookie dough out of a carton that the others remark is decades old. Ingrid goes on to recite the ingredients from memory and reassures him that the dough contains enough preservatives "to outlast the Sphinx".
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Some of the criminals from time to time.
  • Whole Plot Reference: "A Cold Day at X", "Two Wheels, Full Throttle, No Brakes", "Immune to All But Justice" and "To Mar A Stall" are essentially kid-friendly versions of Die Hard, Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), Lethal Weapon 2 and The Silence of the Lambs respectively.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Grover Brady, Becca Baccadero, Wilbur and Stella Valenzia made a pact while in detention and formed a "bully payback squad" to turn the tables on the people who have bullied them time and time again.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: In "A Wurm in Our Midst," Tony Clementina has a phobia of heights so intense he refused to read Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, and threw up during a showing of The Red Balloon.
  • Wondrous Ladies Room:
    • "To Mar a Stall"
    • Additionally in "A Dark Score Evened":
    O'Farrell: "It's clean. The girl's bathroom is clean! Why is the boy's room such a pit?! It smells like lavender in here. I love lavender!" Beat "I'll be outside."
  • Wunza Plot: Like many police procedural tropes which are used in the series, Ingrid and Fillmore's partnership works on the principle that one's a smarter than average social outcast with a photographic memory and the other's a reformed juvenile delinquent.
  • Yellow Sash of Power: Downplayed with the Safety Patrol's orange sash. While the Safety Patrol is essentially treated like the school's police force and the sash is the equivalent of a policeman's shield, it has very tight limits on authority and an abundance of accountability.


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