- Femme Fatale: Ms. Philips. An affair with her led Halliday to kill her husband, and the ensuing cover story they came up with led to the death of Bigelow and possibly Philips' brother too.
- Follow the Leader: Chester, like many killers in the Film Noir era, was inspired by Tommy Udo from Kiss of Death.
- Harsher in Hindsight; Bigelow is killed with a poison that glows in the dark. In 2006, Alexander Litvinenko was murdered by having (non-glowy) radioactive material injected into him. (Law & Order: Criminal Intent combined both the film and the real-life events for their episode "30".)
- Tearjerker: The entire film especially when it's revealed Bigelow really was just one tenuous loose end - he was killed because he inadvertently and innocently notarized a bill of sale for stolen iridium.
YMMV / D.O.A.