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Remember, before you turn invisible, you have to turn into Capri Sun. This is why invisible men go mad.

There once was a story about a man who could turn invisible. I thought it was only a story...until it happened to me. Okay, so here's how it works. There's this stuff called quicksilver that can bend light. Some scientists made it into a synthetic gland, and that's where I came in. See, I was facing life in prison, and they were looking for a human experiment. So, we made a deal. They put the gland in my head, I walk free. The operation was a success, but that's where everything started to go wrong...
Darien Fawkes, Opening Narration

A Sci Fi channel series that aired from June 2000 to February 2002. A total of 46 episodes in two seasons.

In exchange for a pardon, professional thief Darien Fawkes agrees to let his brother Kevin use him as a test subject for a synthetic gland that allows him to secrete a light-bending substance called "quicksilver" from his skin and turn into an invisible man. However, the gland was sabotaged before the operation by Kevin's right hand man, Arnaud DeFöhn, forcing the host to receive regular injections of a counteragent, or slip into a deeply unpleasant state of "Quicksilver madness".

A terrorist attack on the I-man project facility, led by Arnaud, kills Kevin, and forces Darien to partner with either the group that killed his brother or the mysterious and under-funded "Agency", headed by the manipulative Official, for his counteragent shots. He chooses the Agency, and is usually sent on a new mission every episode. Rounding out the cast are Darien's partner Bobby Hobbes, an experienced but...quirky agent; the Keeper, an acerbic scientist in charge of keeping Darien sane and cooperative; and Eberts, the Official's faithful bureaucratic aide.

Not connected with the 1970s TV series of the same name, despite being inspired by the same source material.

Tropes used in The Invisible Man (TV series) include:
  • Action Survivor: Darien
  • Actor Allusion: In "Exposed," Darien opens an SWRB cell door expecting to free Hobbes and Alex, but instead frees a man that he's pretty sure he knows. The man is played by Adam Storke, who co-starred with Vincent Ventresca on the short-lived series, Prey. To play up this moment, before the first airing of "Exposed," the Sci-Fi Channel aired the series finale of Prey, which ended with Storke's character (Tom Daniels) being locked in an actual cell. It is left to the viewer to decide if Storke is actually reprising (however briefly) his old role, however.
  • Affably Evil: Jarod Stark, the head of Chrysalis.
  • The Agency
  • And I Must Scream: As noted below, the experiment that created the Catevari paralyzed him for decades. Thing is, he was completely conscious the entire time, but no one knew that.
    • Several of Augustin Geither's experiments in creating an invisible man resulted in several people who lost most or all of their senses including Geither himself.
  • An Ice Person: When invisible, Darien's body temperature is -10 degrees Celsius, giving him minor freezing powers.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: During a meeting with FBI agents in the last episode, Darien tries to explain what Chrysalis is and what their plan appears to be, but is laughed off. Take note that the agents know that Darien can turn invisible.
  • The Atoner: Tommy Walker, a.k.a. Augustin Geither.
  • Awesome Yet Practical: The Quicksilver itself, when compared to other methods of invisibility. It makes Darien invisible. Good. It also enables him to turn it on and off, to see while invisible (as well as in the darkness), gives some protection from fire and cold and allows him to turn invisible specific body parts, whatever clothes he wears, whatever object he carries, and even larger objects, including doors, small vehicles, furniture and other people. Wow.
  • Blessed with Suck: Invisibility is cool. The regular descents into screamingly painful homicidal insanity? Not so much.
    • This is subverted in one episode where the gland is "turned off" temporarily. Darien doesn't have to worry about Quicksilver Madness, but finds himself in over his head for the Agency's latest mission.
    • Arnaud figures out a way around the Quicksilver madness but ends up permanently invisible.
  • Boxed Crook
  • Buddy Cop Show: With Darien and Bobby as the cops.
  • Catch Phrase: "Oh Crap"
  • Completely Missing the Point: An acupuncturist forces Darien to help her steal some magical Chinese acupuncture needles from a museum so that she can heal her Old Master. The Old Master claims that the needles are filled with "unenlightenment" because they were stolen. The acupuncturist thinks he means that the needles were stolen from China by a British businessman and that killing the businessman will make them effective again.
  • Cooldown Hug: A literal version in "The Catevari."
  • Criminal Amnesiac: Darien gets amnesia in one episode, whereupon both the series' Big Bads try to convince him that he works for them.
  • Cryptid Episode: There's a Bigfoot episode. Big Foot turns out to be naturally invisible. And female
    • Actually Bigfoot was male, the gland on the other hand was female.
  • Dating Catwoman: Darien's relationship with morally ambiguous Chrysalis operative Alianora
  • Deadpan Snarker: Darien, frequently.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Darien has nightmares of Arnaud before his reappearance (more than once), he dreamed of a place and of going mad and trying to kill Hobbes before it happened, and in a subversion of the trope, he had nightmares that turned out to be flashbacks from a previous recipient of the gland, not his own.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Eberts. His first name by itself isn't so bad, but would you want to go through life named Albert Eberts?
  • Enforced Method Acting: In-Universe example. When the Agency fakes Bobby's death, the Keeper isn't told so that her grief at the funeral looks real.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Official and The Keeper for most of the Series. Their real names are Charles Borden and Claire Keepley, respectively.
    • That was probably not The Official's "real" name, however. In a later episode, Jarrod Stark says it's "a name from a hat," implying it's one of many aliases the Official has. And in a second-season episode, another high-ranking secret government guy lumps himself together with the Official as "those of us with no names."
    • And we never actually learn the Keeper's last name, only her first. The first time the Keeper introduced herself with that surname, she hesitated and was clearly making it up on the spot. Later on in the season, after she'd used that surname repeatedly, Darien still asked what her real last name was, and she wouldn't answer, insisting that her job required some degree of anonymity.
  • Evil Counterpart: Arnaud, after he implants himself with his own invisibility gland. His gland has a different drawback from Darien's, though: instead of having to deal with counteragent shots and quicksilver madness, he's permanently invisible (like in the classic H.G. Wells story).
  • Faking the Dead: To throw off the bad guys, Hobbes' death is briefly faked in one the distress and then outrage of the Keeper, the only one who wasn't told.
    • Darien was led to believe that this was the case for Kevin. Unfortunately, it was instead an elaborate ploy by Arnaud to uncover Kevin's hidden Quicksilver research.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Despite going to some fairly extreme lengths, Darien can never get the gland out of his brain. However, in the series finale, the Keeper gives him a permanent antidote for quicksilver madness, making failure a lot more tolerable.
  • Five-Man Band: The main characters fit the formula.
  • Flowers for Algernon Syndrome: Hobbes does this in one episode, appropriately titled "Flowers for Hobbes".
  • Fun with Acronyms: The agency that runs the Community is called the Agency of Sequestered Seclusion.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: The gland that secretes quicksilver was genetically engineered. In the pilot, Darien compares it to the atom bomb.
    • This is disputed by Darien and Hobbes at the end of the second season opener Legends, after they find and kill an invisible bigfoot. The Official denies their accusations but lets it slip that he knew about these creatures, implying that the original gland did come from a bigfoot but may have been adapted for a human.
  • Genius Cripple: Thomas Walker aka Augustin Geither
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The plot of some episodes, most notably "Catevari" wherein a spy who has undergone a surgical procedure to make him sweat poison. It works, but the damage done to his central nervous system paralyzes him for decades. This also happens to the first person to have the quicksilver gland implanted.
  • Good News, Bad News
  • Government Agency of Fiction
  • Hand Cannon: Claire, of all people, owns one.
  • The Handler: The Keeper. Generally much nicer than most.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Darien and Hobbes.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Principal Snyder is Thomas Walker.
  • Hollywood Silencer: In the pilot, Arnaud and his men attack the base with pistols that are inexplicably silent. They don't even have tubes attached to the barrels.
  • Homage: One episode involved Fawkes and Hobbes being trapped in "The Community", an isolated quaint little village for secret agents who had their identity exposed, and their subsequent escape.
  • I Choose to Stay: After Darien learns the Official ordered Claire to keep the cure for Quicksilver Madness from him to keep him in the Agency, he says he would have stayed without a second thought, but walks out on account of the betrayal. He ultimately returns; see I Just Want to Be Special below.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Darien spends quite a bit of his free time trying to find a way to free himself from the gland. Becomes a rather lower priority in the finale, when Claire devises a permanent cure to Quicksilver Madness.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Having had a lot of Character Development by the time he leaves the Agency on account of the Official's poor judgment, Darien finds that having consequence-free invisibility as well as a new appreciation for being one of the good guys makes his old gig of professional thievery unsatisfying.
  • Imaginary Friend: Darien poses as one of these to a little girl who happened to witness the assassination of some foreign dignitary.
  • Informed Judaism: Hobbes' fake funeral is presided over by a rabbi.
  • Invisibility: Well, yeah.
  • Invisible Jerkass: Darrien, when the Quicksilver madness sets in. And Arnaud when he gets a gland of his own.
  • Ironic Echo: At one point, Arnaud manages to corner Fawkes and quips "Tag, you're dead." before shooting him. Fortunately, Arnaud ran out of ammo during the preceding chase scene. A couple of episodes later, while under the effects of Quicksilver Madness, Fawkes repeats the line to Arnaud.
  • Kavorka Man: Hobbes
  • Kiss of Death: Alianora kills people by kissing them and regurgitating water stored in her body, thereby drowning them.
  • Latex Perfection: Arnaud, after becoming permanently invisible, uses "latex" masks to be visible.
  • Making a Splash: La Llorona is able to spew high-pressure water blasts from her mouth and transform into water.
  • Mark of the Beast/Power Tattoo: The Keeper gives Darien a warning system in the form of an Ouroboros tattoo; it starts out green, and then sections of the snake go red as he gets closer to quicksilver madness.
  • Mercy Kill: Darien reasons the Catevari did this, as he slaughtered the hospital staff, but only gently pricked a friend (who had also been experimented on).
  • The Mole: Arnaud, the Swiss scientist in the pilot is the Big Bad for Darien. He also has elements of the Magnificent Bastard.
  • Mundane Utility: Darien's ability to render other objects invisible makes him an excellent thief. He also uses it for pranks and things.
  • Nebulous Evil Organization: Chrysalis. Their exact goal is something that the protagonists try (and fail) to discover during the series. The writers may or may not have intended to reveal their agenda had the series not been canceled, but nobody else has any idea.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: How Darien was caught in the pilot: while Darien is getting ready to leave after robbing a safe, an elderly person walks in and has a heart attack. Darien tries to give him CPR when suddenly he is walked in on in a compromising position. Not only do we get a paper headline reading "Burgling Molester Of The Elderly", but the guy actually testifies in court that Darien was trying to molest him!
  • Non-Indicative First Episode: the visual style of the pilot is just so distinct and interesting compared to the rest of the episodes which looked far more conventional that you wonder what happened to the cinematographer.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: The only one capable of removing the gland from Darien's brain is his dead brother, Kevin.
    • It is a partial subversion, however, in that a new gland is created, and the technology for making more also exists. They just can't get around permanent invisibility without Kevin. In fact, given that they've only had two years and a very limited budget to work on the project, it's not that surprising they haven't been able to get it out. Furthermore, one episode even shows us the disastrous results of early human invisibility tests (people stuck in permanent, total sensory deprivation).
  • Not So Different: The Catevari tries this with Darien.
  • Oddly Small Organization: Apart from a couple secretaries and Red Shirts, there's virtually nobody else employed by The Agency other than the cast. Sort of justified by The Agency's financial troubles, so they probably have to keep the headcount small.
  • Oh Crap: Darien's Catch Phrase whenever he finds himself in an unfavorable situation. Though his tone of voice suggests more of a This Is Gonna Suck. He said it so often that, when struck with amnesia, it was the first clue in his Quest for Identity.
    • Especially funny when subverted by the Bad Guy Arnaud, when he shows up suddenly, sees the look on Darien's face and beats him to the line. "Yes, Yes, I know...Oh Crap."
      • Speaking of Arnaud, while he's normally very composed, he has this look on his face when he winds up being held at gunpoint by a Quicksilver Mad-Darien.
      • Arnaud also exclaims, "Merde!" at one point, the French equivalent.
    • The Official, and occasionally other characters, use "Shut up, Eberts!" frequently, often just after he's given away useful or embarrassing-to-the-Agency information.
    • In the pilot, Arnaud gives Darien a series of injections, warning him of a "little prick" each time. This later becomes Arnaud's favorite term for Darien.
  • Once an Episode: Darien has a voiceover at the beginning of every episode in which he quotes some famous person, and another one at the end musing over the episode's events.
    • Darien actually owns a large book of quotations, that he presumably draws from for the voiceovers. In one episode, Arnaud uses this book to club Darien over the head.
  • One Head Taller: Hobbes is 5'7; Darien is 6'2.
  • Opening Narration: Season 1's is up at the top. Season 2 slightly tweaked it.
  • Phlebotinum Dependence: Darien needs periodic injections to keep him from going insane.
  • Poisonous Person: The Catevari.
  • Power Incontinence: Darien has much more control over his ability than most versions of the Invisible Man, but occasionally it kicks in involuntarily...most notably, when he's having sex.
    • In the pilot, Darien attempted to spy on a security guard and a nurse about to get it on, when he involuntarily becomes visible. Needless to say, the security guard did not appreciate that and threw him out, although not before punching him in the face. However, this was more due to inexperience in controlling his adrenalin levels, which is rectified by Kevin teaching him yoga.
    • Arnaud has it even worse once he gets his own quicksilver gland: he becomes permanently invisible.
  • Pretty Spry for a Dead Guy: Kevin in "Reunion".
  • Professor Guinea Pig: Augustin Geither
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Eberts in Season 2.
  • Psycho Serum: In reverse: Darien will go psychotic if he doesn't get an injection of counteragent on a regular schedule.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: see below
  • Retool: The original pilot was much more comedy oriented than the rest of the series.
    • Also, Darien's estranged girlfriend Casey played a prominent role in the Pilot, but is nowhere to be found in the rest of the series. (Darien makes a reference to her in an early episode, suggesting that they broke up.)
  • Required Secondary Powers: Unlike most fictional invisible men, there is a fairly believable in-story explanation as to how Darien sees while invisible: when the Quicksilver bonds with his eyes, it allows him to see light outside the visible spectrum, which isn't bent (the downside being that he can only see in monochrome). This also enables him to see things that other people can't see, like other invisible people and lasers. This also explains why he can be seen via thermal imaging. One episode even has him rendered able to see only when invisible.
    • Another downside is it makes it impossible for him to see clear objects like windows; highlighted in one episode where Darien was in a foot pursuit while invisible and accidentally leaped through a picture window.
  • The Rival: The unnamed Chinese agency aware of the gland is headed by an overweight bureaucrat whose geeky assistant is identical to Eberts in every respect save for appearance. At one point, Eberts and Wang (the other assistant) begin to have a heated discussion about collating, causing both the Official and his counterpart to yell "Shut up, Eberts!" and "Silence, Wang!", respectively.
  • Scooby-Doo Hoax: In one episode The Agency is ordered by government higher-ups to have Fawkes pose as a ghost to get a superstitious South American dictator to get rid of a biological missile system. However, they run into an opposing group (later revealed to be Chrysalis) who are pulling a hoax of their own so they can get their hands on the system.
  • Screwed by the Network: The series was a rating success on Friday nights, but a move to Mondays for Season 2 saw a decline. Though the move was reversed, ratings never fully recovered.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Keeper shows up in the second episode. This seems to be the second type, because it would have been easy to work her character into the pilot. She seems to be a replacement for Darien's girlfriend Casey, a civilian doctor who Darien asks to study X-rays of the gland in hopes of having it removed.
  • Sense Loss Sadness
  • Shout-Out: The Opening Narration references H.G. Wells, while showing a clip from the 1933 movie. Arnaud, once getting his own invisibility gland, has to either wrap his face in bandages or wear a mask if he wants to be seen, just like H.G. Wells' Invisible Man.
    • In the second episode of the pilot, Arnaud uses the alias "Hawley Griffin," a Shout-Out to Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
    • One episode has Darien holding a rather large coffee cup - referencing his role of Fun Bobby on Friends.
    • When Darien and Hobbes get wrongly sent to the Community (where all the retired spies are sent to), they bump into a British man with an umbrella. When Darien comments on it, Hobbes said the show was based on him.
    • A young witness to a murder has an imaginary friend named Ralph, which might be a Shout-Out to Ralph Ellison, who wrote Invisible Man.
    • Thomas Walker is named after Tommy Walker from Tommy by The Who, a blind, deaf, and mute boy. Pinball games also appear in episodes focused on Walker.
    • From the two-hour premiere alone: There's a magazine cover with articles reading Time and Relative Dimensions in Space! and Playing the Game of Rassilon!, a business card reading I.M. Foreman, and a doctor named Troughton.
  • Spy From Weights and Measures: The Agency uses a variety of backwater government branches as its front. Including 'Fish and Game', 'Indian Affairs', and 'Weights and Measures'.
  • Taking the Bullet: Kevin does this for Darien.
  • Temporary Blindness: A one-shot Career Killer had a modus operandi of rendering witnesses unable to identify him by blinding them instead of killing them. Darien was a witness, although he was still able to see while invisible.
  • They Fight Crime: Darien and Bobby again.
  • Throw the Book At Them
  • Uh-Oh Eyes: Darien's eyes turn beyond-bloodshot red when he's on the edge of losing control, and turn silver when he's completely insane.
  • Uncanny Village: The Community mentioned above.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Borrowed frell from Farscape (which it aired immediately before).
  • Western Terrorists: Arnaud's group, also Chrysalis. And the Canadian terrorists Darien and Bobby take on in their first mission together.
  • Window Love: Defied by Bobby when Darien is in jail; he just gives a dirty look instead.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Darien, if he doesn't get his shots.
  • Your Head Asplode: In the pilot, the method Arnaud uses to eliminate the compound's guards. After getting all the guards to check in on their walkie-talkies:

Arnaud: Some joker put plastic explosives in your radios. *boom*

    • Combined with Gory Discretion Shot, as you only see a pair of legs sprawled on the ground otuside the guard house.