Moffat: "All this do-gooding, Constable. Picking up litter, rescuing kittens, saving people's lives. What sort of message do you suppose that sends to the Americans?"
—Due South, "An Invitation to Romance"
The Mountie, Constable Benton Fraser, came to Chicago on the trail of the killers of his father; and, for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, remained attached as liaison with the Canadian Consulate, working with local detective Ray Vecchio - who, for various reasons having to do with actor availability, is later replaced by Stanley (Raymond) Kowalski. Yes, that is his name (his dad was a fan of Marlon Brando). He even married a woman named Stella, though they had divorced by the time Ray K moved to Chicago.
Cst. Benton Fraser (rhymes with "razor", though Ray V usually pronounces it "Frasier") is the living incarnation of almost every Mountie stereotype ever conceived. He's polite to a fault, can track a man for months across an Arctic waste, fights honorably, doesn't lie, is almost always impeccably clean, even after climbing out of a sewer. He almost always wears the formal red dress uniform, which in real life is only worn for special public occasions or for publicity.
Ray Vecchio is, in his own way, also the quintessential cynical American cop: from his attitudes and his eating habits, to his clothes and his car. He's not above kicking a man in the crotch while he's distracted, and prefers to fight dirty against criminals.
Ray Kowalski is similar in many ways, but more prone to wear his heart on his sleeve, has a unique manner of speaking ("I'm gonna jump Bogart all over you!") and is just as good a cop as Ray V. Both Rays are fiercely loyal to their families and friends, and especially to Fraser.
Due South is both a buddy cop comedy and a drama and handles both genres quite well. Fraser and both Rays play well off of one another, and make each other's more exaggerated characteristics work.
It also included some elements of magical realism, most notably Sgt. Bob Fraser (usually called "Fraser Sr.", "Dead Bob", or "OFDM" (for "Our Favourite Dead Mountie") by the fandom), the ghost of Fraser's father. Only Fraser (And his half sister, who only appeared in one episode, and possibly the Chicago PD's coroner, who probably didn't notice that he was extracting fingernail scrapings from a ghost) could see and hear his father, unless Fraser Sr. wanted to show himself to someone else (this happened four times—he appeared to his killer, to his wife's killer, to his best friend from the force, and to Ray Kowalski), or they were also related to him (happened once). Ray V's dad's ghost also popped up once or twice,and interacted with Fraser Sr once, though he was never a regular character.
- All a Part of the Job: Fraser is baffled and uncomfortable when his heroics draw media attention. When reporters ask how he feels about having prevented a horrible disaster (in "Red, White, or Blue", referencing the events of "All the Queen's Horses"), all he can come up with is "Fine."
- Always Gets His Man: Fraser, naturally.
- And the Adventure Continues...: "If we do find his Hand, the reaching-out one, we'll let you know."
- Artistic License: Law: On at least two occasions people with vendettas are satisfied when they get the person who killed their loved one to confess in front of a police officer. This ignores the fact that the admissibility of a confession extracted at gunpoint is highly dubious - any competent lawyer could argue that his client was willing to say just about anything if it got his tormentor to put the gun away. On one occasion the person doing this was a police officer and should have known this.
- Axe Crazy: Randall Bolt, the crazy White Supremacist terrorist
- Bad Bad Acting: Fraser and Ray K., when they realize Ray's apartment has been bugged
- Badass Grandma: Ruth, aka Nautilus from "Spy Vs. Spy"
- Barehanded Blade Block: In "Seeing is Believing," Fraser catches a knife thrown at him.
- Bash Brothers: In the series finale Detectives Ray Vecchio and Ray Kowalski partner up with each other briefly.
- Beard of Sorrow: In "A Hawk and a Handsaw," Fraser mentions that after his mother died, his father quit shaving for a while
- Beleaguered Childhood Friend: Fraser's friend Mark Smithbauer, in "The Blue Line".
- Big Badass Wolf: Averted much of the time with Diefenbaker, but played straight a time or two, when Fraser was in danger, and when he had a girlfriend he was protecting.
- Blind Without'Em: Kowalski can't fire his pistol without wearing glasses.
- Bigger on the Inside: Fraser's closet has all of Canada in it, or at least just his father's new cabin. May not technically count since it's all in Fraser's head. Or is it?
- Book Ends: Two for the show as a whole.
- The Pilot Movie has Fraser pursuing the man who killed his father, and the series finale has Fraser pursuing the man who killed his mother.
- The pilot had Fraser starting in the Canadian wilderness and moving to Chicago, and the series finale has Fraser (accompanied by Ray
VecchioKowalski) deciding to go back to Canada.
- The Boxing Episode in "Mountie and Soul"
- Brick Joke: In The Deal Fraser mentions a schoolyard bully from his childhood menacing kids with a dead otter. Five episodes later, in Letting Go, a physical therapist is scrutinizing his body for past injuries and discovers an odd scar which he says was caused when he was struck by an otter at age 10.
- British Royal Guards: Constable Benton Fraser would mimic these guards' "statuesque" reputation whenever he stood on guard duty at the Canadian Consulate, as did his junior, Constable Renfield Turnbull in Season 3. Once in season two, when Fraser was stuck in a (metaphoric) well, he sent his half-wolf/half-dog Diefenbaker to get help; Dief patiently waited in front of one unnamed Mountie until his tour was up, at which point he finally barked the news about Fraser to him and said Mountie was able to respond.
- Bullet-Proof Fashion Plate: Fraser, which drives Ray completely up the wall.
- Also, his fashion renders him bulletproof. While Fraser is injured several times in the show, he is never once injured while he is wearing his hat. This has caused the hat to be dubbed the 'Stetson of Invulnerability' by fans.
- Although his hat is not bulletproof, and he has reacted to it being damaged as if he had been shot in an actual body part
- Bunny Ears Lawyer: Fraser, and it's not always just an American point of view of Canadian ways thing, either, since he has baffled the Canadians as well. Examples include his habit of licking things and talking to his dead father. Granted, the other characters don't know he's doing the latter, so he just looks like he's talking to thin air.
- But for Me It Was Tuesday: The serial bank robber that RayK pursues in "Eclipse"
Ray: I don't believe this, you don't remember me.
- California Doubling (Toronto for Chicago, amusingly inverted when a Toronto-set episode was filmed in... Chicago.)
- The Chicago-for-Toronto doubling may very well have been an intentional joke - the producers were not above doing that kind of thing, such as when every shot of the Canadian consulate in Chicago was actually shot outside the American consulate in Toronto.
- Canada, Eh? / Eagle Land: The series is a commentary on, and gentle ribbing of, Canadian AND American approaches to policing and life.
Bush pilot: You sure they were Americans, eh?
- Canine Companion: Diefenbaker
- The Cape (trope): Fraser, of course.
- Cast Incest: Paul Gross is married in real life to the actress who played his character's mother.
- The Cast Showoff: Paul Gross co-wrote and sang at least two songs in the course of the series. See also Written by Cast Member.
- Catch Phrase: Quite a long one, too. Starting in season three, whenever someone asks Fraser what he's doing in America (see Once an Episode), he usually responds:
Fraser: I first came to Chicago on the trail of the killers of my father; and, for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, I have remained, attached as liaison officer with the Canadian Consulate.
- Often as not, somebody else gives this or some variation as an explanation. "This is Fraser, he first came to Chicago on the trail of the killers of his father, etc."
- Also "Oh dear", whenever anything is about to go wrong, and "thank you kindly".
- Subverted when, in one episode, Fraser complains about the supposed Mountie Catch Phrase "We always get our man".
- Celebrity Paradox: Buck Frobisher's resemblance to "legendary Canadian actor Leslie Nielsen" is remarked upon in "Burning Down the House".
- Chained Heat: Fraser and Inspector Thatcher in All the Queen's Horses and Fraser and Ray V in Red, White or Blue
- Character Tics: Fraser has a few, including cracking his neck and touching his ear when he's nervous, thinking, or repressing the urge to do or say something.
- Chekhov's (Unloaded) Gun: In the "Pilot," Fraser pulls out his gun in a Chicago bar, then explains that it's empty because he doesn't have a local permit. Later, when his father's killer grabs the gun in a fight and tries to shoot him, it isn't loaded.
- Chick Magnet: Fraser.
- Christianity Is Catholic: Justified, as Ray and his family are Italian American, and thus very likely would be Catholic. Fraser also appears to be Catholic
- Chronically Crashed Car: Ray V's mint-green 1971 Buick Riviera.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Fraser's partners frequently bemoan his spontaneous interventions in dangerous situations that he encounters, reminding him that he has no jurisdiction or they are not on duty. In "Red, White or Blue," Fraser admits that he realizes his inability to stop helping people bothers Ray, but he can't help himself. Furthermore, a heartbreaking moment occurs in Victoria's Secret, when he refuses to help someone who appeals to him directly for aid.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Ray V's sister, Francesca ("Frannie") Vecchio, pursued Fraser aggressively—at one point even telling people that they had slept together. (In case simple common sense isn't enough to convince you that they hadn't, Word of God has confirmed it.)
- Inspector Thatcher, though less clingy and more jealous; Francesca never got upset with Fraser for bringing strange women home or working with exotic dancers.
- Clip Show: "Flash Back." "Red, White Or Blue" is not exactly this trope, but it does contain a significant amount of footage from "All The Queen's Horses" and a few other episodes.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Constable Turnbull tends to be one of these. See also Genius Ditz.
- The Comically Serious: Fraser understands the existence of sarcasm, and even displays the occasional flash of dry wit, but his default behaviour is still to take everything very literally.
- Fraser, in "Victoria's Secret"
- Played for laughs by Francesca in The Deal, where she attempts to pre-emptively confess for a sin she plans to commit (seducing Fraser). The priest, exhasperated, points out that she can't keep confessing for that when she never follows through.
- Inverted in the same episode when Fraser asks the priest what he thought of Don Zuko. His answer, as vague as it is, implies that he has gone to confessional himself for wishing harm upon Zuko.
- Cool Car: Vecchio's 1971 Buick Riviera, which kept getting blown up, and later Kowalski's GTO
- Cowboy Cop: Ray V has shades of it occasionally. The "imminent danger" trick he pulls in Victoria's Secret comes to mind.
- This has actually gotten him in trouble a few times as it makes his word less than trustworthy: in Witness he is suspected of intimidating a witness, while in Duel he is suspected of fabricating evidence. Not to mention, his actions in The Deal eventually lead to the deaths of Detective Louis Gardino and Irene Zuko.
- A Crack in the Ice: This happens to Ray K in the show finale.
- Crazy Prepared:
- From the episode "A Hawk and a Handsaw":
Fraser: I sharpened my buckle.
- From the episode "Vault":
Fraser: I've been making calculations based on its thickness, the depth of the existing hole and the reflection of the tonal input as it percusses against my tuning fork.
- Dating Catwoman: For Fraser, Victoria Metcalf ("Victoria's Secret"). Ray V, in "You Must Remember This", has a brief romance that seems to be this trope, but ends up subverted as his love interest turns out to be an undercover agent running a sting, not a thief.
- Dead Person Conversation: With Fraser Sr., very frequently. Ray V also spoke occasionally with the ghost of his own father, though their relationship was much more antagonistic than the Frasers'.
- Deadpan Snarker: Ray V and Sergent Buck Frobisher
- Determinator: Both Fraser and Dief. As the saying goes, they always get their man. On at least one occasion, Fraser has worried that Dief will literally run his paws off rather than give up pursuit.
- Did Not Do the Research: An unusual example: While filming the episode in which he first played Buck Frobisher, Leslie Neilsen (Who was the son of a Mountie) noted that the actor who played Fraser had laced his boots incorrectly and made a point of teaching him the proper way for a Mountie to tie his shoes.
- Dinner and a Show: Ray V's family.
- Disguised in Drag: in "Some Like It Red"
- Disappeared Dad: Fraser Sr. wasn't around much in Benton's childhood because of his job as a Mountie. Interestingly enough, Benton mostly views this with regret rather than bitterness, and his dad honestly seems more bothered by it than he does.
- Ditch the Bodyguards: The plot of Chicago Holiday.
- Door Step Baby: "A Cop, a Mountie, and a Baby"
- Dork Knight: Fraser, oh so much.
- Drives Like Crazy: Pike in "Spy Vs. Spy"
- Drowning Pit: "Vault"
- Embarrassing First Name: Played straight with Stanley Ray Kowalski, who shared his name with the protagonist of A Streetcar Named Desire. Subverted with Fraser, who had an odd first name ("Benton"), but wasn't even remotely embarrassed by it.
- Enhance Button: Averted in "The Blue Line." Fraser asks a technician to enlarge a frame from a video tape so he can identify a face in a crowd. The technician says it would be pointless because the resolution is too low.
- Estrogen Brigade Bait: Fraser was this in-show as well as amongst fans.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: Every 1971 Buick Riviera seems to be, though to be fair One of them was rigged with a bomb
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Although they did refer to him by name a few times in The Deal, more often than not, Joey Paducci is referred to as "The Shoemaker".
- Many of the Chicago police officers and people from Fraser's neighborhood will also refer to Fraser in the third person as "The Mountie", though they also just often refer to him by name. Justified, as he really is one of only three or so mounties in Chicago at any given time.
- External Combustion: Poor Louis.
- Facing the Bullets One-Liner: The plot that sets up the whole show.
You'll shoot a Mountie? They'll hunt you to the ends of the Earth,
- Fake American: While Fraser's original partner is a genuine native-born American, Ray Kowalski is portrayed by Canadian Callum Keith Rennie, and his Canadian accent is audible at times.
- Also, Ramona Milano (who played Francesca) is from Toronto—which makes a crack she makes near the end of the series about how there's no life in Toronto all the funnier
- Fan Nickname: common ones include
- Faux Affably Evil: from "All the Queen's Horses," Randall Bolt, the psychopathic White Supremacist terrorist who captures a whole train of Mounties in order to send it into another train full of radioactive fuel rods, who is willing to kill his men, including his girlfriend, all with a broad smile across his face
- The Fettered: Fraser
- Fingertip Drug Analysis: Fraser would taste anything. He even licked the bottom of a boot once to figure out where the wearer had been. Ray K and Ray V were both disgusted and tried to stop him.
- Fish Out of Water: Fraser had trouble adjusting to life in a bustling city after being a backwoods policeman.
- It is pointed out in the pilot that Fraser had trouble adjusting to life in a small city the one time they assigned him to work in one. If anything, he seems to adapt better to a big city for some reason.
- Inversely, neither of the Rays seem to do so hot themselves when they end up in the Canadian wilderness, though RayV did much better than RayK.
- It get's worse if you know more about mounties, all members of the RCMP are allowed to carry guns in the states
- Why does Fraser only have Canadian currency on him, even if he only gets paid in Canadian money for some reason he could get it converted when he cashes his pay check at the bank. Also becomes funny when you realize mounties (and other Canadian law enforcement) are paid almost twice what American cops make but Fraser keeps borrowing money from Ray.
- Well, yes. Fraser's paid in Canadian, and Chicago people generally don't accept Canadian money. Still leaves the problem of converting it to US dollars, though.
- This may have to do with the fact that it is a lot easier to pay for stuff with American money in Canada than the reverse, but Canadians will still expect to be able to use their own currency in the US
- Friend to All Living Things: Fraser wasn't quite this bad, but he came close sometimes.
- Genius Ditz: Turnbull, while not an idiot, is not that great at his job. However, he is very good at art, cooking, trivia, and perhaps cleaning. Doesn't help that he's a Cloudcuckoolander to boot.
- Frannie as well. She may not get the jargon right or even understand some basics of policing, but she's good at finding information. Thankfully, that's her job, so she's a step ahead of Turnbull.
- Gentle Giant: the large prisoner who helps out Fraser and Ray in "The Witness" is a variation on this: he's not exactly gentle (we see him throttling a lunchroom attendant when he tells him to move along because he doesn't have any food left), but he does keep the bad guy away because he was impressed with Fraser's courtesy
- Get Into Jail Free: A key witness is behind bars and Fraser's partner is jailed for contempt. Fraser gets himself arrested to join them and be in position to protect them. He's such a straight arrow that he can't bring himself to shoplift a candy bar, and his police friends have to plant it on him.
- Go Among Mad People: "Hawk and a Handsaw"
- Going by the Matchbook - A variation in Chicago Holiday, averting the typical Clingy MacGuffin quality of plot-important matchbooks.
- Good Is Not Dumb: Fraser, of course.
- Good Old Ways
- Hero Ball: It's the Mountie national sport.
- He's Back: "The Edge"
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Jane Krakowski (of Ally McBeal and Thirty Rock) played a distracted bride-to-be in "An Invitation to Romance." Melina Kanakaredes (of Providence and CSI: NY) played Fraser's love interest in "Victoria's Secret." Amanda Tapping played a military scientist in "Starman", and Carrie-Anne Moss was a mobster's sister (and Vecchio's former girlfriend) in "Juliet Is Bleeding". A young Ryan Phillippe played the son of a bankrobber in "Gift of the Wheelman". Red Green plays the guy who hassles Vecchio when he tries to check in on a Canadian bush plane. Stephanie Romanov (evil layer Lilah Morgan from Angel played a high stakes poker player nicknamed 'Ladyshoes' in 'Odds'.
- Hollywood Voodoo: in "Mojo Rising," although they seem to have done their homework fairly well.
- Honor Before Reason : Fraser. You Should Know This Already.
- "Thats the last time he'll fish over the limit..."
- I See Them, Too: Whenever anyone other than Fraser sees his father.
- If My Calculations Are Correct: In "Vault," Fraser begins with "Now, I don’t have the specifications for the door, Ray. But I’ve been making calculations based on its thickness, the depth of the existing hole and the reflection of the tonal input as it percusses against my tuning fork." Several scenes later, after much bickering, he concludes with "That is, providing they maintain a constant rate of drilling."
- Impersonating an Officer: Subverted—Fraser had no legal authority in the US and went out of his way to point this out and abide by it.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: In reality, Fraser's RCMP uniform is the Red Serge and it is nowadays only worn for special ceremonies or for publicity purposes and never for regular police duties.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: In the episode Bird In The Hand Fraser is able to throw a knife so precisely it plugs the barrel of a gun.
- Similarly, in Mountie On The Bounty, when a ship Fraser and Kowalski are on sails into Canadian waters, Fraser catches a tossed handgun and proceeds to prove himself an expert marksman.
- Improbable Parking Skills: Ray puts his 1972 Buick Riviera into a controlled skid over a large field of ice to bring it sliding to a stop immediately next to Fraser and the guest star. Both of them give him a mild What the Hell, Hero?, which he casually shrugs off.
- Inevitable Waterfall: "North" and "Burning Down the House"
- Informed Self Diagnosis: "North"
- Intangible Man: Fraser Sr., though this was to some degree under his control.
- Interservice Rivalry: The 27th Precinct quickly came to appreciate the frequent presence of Canada's Deputy Liasion Officer but they never worked well with the FBI, and there were problems among the Secret Service, Chicago police and Mexican officials in The Edge.
- Intimate Healing: Fraser tells a story (twice) about how he found Victoria freezing to death on a mountain, and shared body heat with her so that they could both survive.
- Jerkass: Frank Zucco, who manages to be an extortionist mafia don Smug Snake who cheats at basketball who has the gall to act like a Knight Templar. And the two FBI agents.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ray Vecchio.
- Jurisdiction Friction: Though maybe because the two Feds sent were incompetent jerkasses
- Karma Houdini: Victoria is a borderline case. On the one hand she escaped scot-free after framing Ray and Fraser for murder and theft and putting Fraser's life in danger in order to launder some of the money to get diamonds, and Fraser still tried to go with her, on the other she's now a wanted criminal for the same murder and theft, she lost all of the money and got none of the diamonds, and Fraser didn't go with her (admittedly because Ray accidentally shot him
- Knight in Sour Armor: Ray
- Knight Templar: Frank Zucco pretends to be one, claiming that everything he does is in service to his neighborhood, as opposed to his extortion business
- Land Mine Goes Click: in the episode "The Edge".
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: In the episode "Flashback", Fraser loses his memory. He can't remember who he is, his personal history, or his manners. When Ray tells Fraser about himself, Fraser thinks he sounds like a moron.
- Crowning Moment of Funny: Fraser confronted with the unfurnished apartment in which he and his half-wolf sleep on the floor: "Why do I live like this? Am I being punished?"
- Stupid Good: Against all reason, usually averted by Fraser. He is evidently a spectacular judge of character with some highly noteworthy exceptions. In the pilot episode, he loans a large sum of money to a complete stranger with a likely story, only to have him approach him days or weeks later to pay him back. This is mostly guided by Rule of Funny, as it serves to annoy the unholy hell out of Ray V for the sheer unlikeliness of it.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the episode "A Hawk and a Handsaw," when someone asks Fraser how a mountie came to live in Chicago, he replies that it's a long story which takes exactly two hours to tell (i.e., the length of the pilot). In the episode "Vault," Ray remarks, "In the last two years you’ve risked our lives 24 times," (i.e., the number of episodes to that point in the series).
- Literary Allusion Title: The title of the Christmas episode "The Gift of the Wheelman" is a reference to O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi. In case the reference wasn't clear, the opening shot also includes a store called "O. Henry's Gift Shop."
- Also, the wheelman in question is one William Sydney Porter.
- Locked in a Freezer: "They Eat Horses, Don't They?"
- In a variation, We are the Eggmen, Fraser and Inspector Thatcher get locked in an incubator
- Long Lost Sibling: Fraser meets his half-sister in "Hunting Season", the penultimate episode of the last season.
- Lottery Ticket: in "We Are The Eggmen".
- Love Martyr: Fraser let Victoria go, and almost went with her, even after all she put him through and proved herself to be a fairly terrible person.
- Machiavelli Was Wrong: The Deal, After Don Zuko gives his Hannibal Lecture to Fraser about how people respect him, Fraser points out that there is a difference between being respected and being feared. That is to say, fear can be overcome. 
- MacGuffin: In "Chicago Holiday", with copious Lampshading. Another, less heavily lampshaded reference is provided in "An Invitation To Romance.
- Magic Realism: Throughout (see Spirit Advisor), but also in such episodes as "Heaven and Earth", where a homeless man's clairvoyant powers appear to be genuine.
- Malaproper: Francesca Vecchio is constantly misquoting typical police jargon (for instance, saying "broiling" rather than "grilling" a suspect). In "Mountie On the Bounty," this is weaponized, as a suspect finally cracks after listening to her do it constantly for minutes on end
- Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Fraser once talks Ray V into ticketing a guy who had parked in the fire lane. A little later they find out that the trunk of the illegally parked vehicle is full of guns.
- On at least two occasions Fraser brings in a guy on a charge that while technically true, is a mild description of the actual crime (a man who was dynamite fishing for 'fishing over the limit (by 2 tons)', and a man who was illegally dumping hazardous waste for 'littering').
- Mistaken for Murderer: Fraser, in "Victoria's Secret".
- Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize: Actually discussed by Vecchio in "They Eat Horses Don't They" when talking about one of the suspects. Fraser is annoyed when this works.
- New Old Flame: Ray V has Irene Zuko ("Juliet is Bleeding"); Fraser has Victoria Metcalf ("Victoria's Secret").
- Nice Hat: Fraser's stetson, nicknamed the Stetson Of Invulnerability by the fandom. As Kowalski said, the hat is sacred.
Fraser: She shot me in the hat, Ray.
- One of Fraser Sr.'s greatest regrets about being dead is they cut off the back of his favorite hat in order to fit it on his head in his coffin, and now he's stuck with it like that for eternity.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the climax of The Deal, Ray beats the crap out of Don Zuko in his own gym, and promises not to tell everybody he sees about it in return for Zuko promising no harm will come to the Shoemaker. 
- Noble Savage: Quinn subverts this trope in Easy Money, portraying himself in this manner and then commenting to Fraser "I've been getting into this native roots and it seems to work. Besides, I thought the Tonto act might impress that little jackass." But he also embodies the trope, as he was a very formative mentor to Fraser and he does the right thing in the end.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: All of the Haitians in "Mojo Rising" speak with essentially American accents.
- Not the Fall That Kills You: In Call of the Wild, Fraser and Ray jump and is pushed by Fraser, respectively, from an airplane without parachutes, but they are not injured because the snow is "bottomless."
- Not with the Safety On, You Won't: in "Free Willie"
- Now or Never Kiss: in "All the Queen's Horses"
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Almost everyone believes Fraser's putting on an act by being such a stereotypical Mountie in order to con people, because no one is really that honest, polite and noble.
- And sometimes, very rarely (see "Bird in the Hand," "Odds"), he actually does let the mask slip.
- Once Per Episode: Defenestration (someone/something going through a window), particularly in the first two seasons, and also Fraser's CatchPhrases, especially the longer one in latter seasons (see above).
- One of Our Own: In Eclipse, Dead Guy Running, Victoria's Secret and Heaven and Earth.
- The Other Darrin: Diefenbaker was played by three different animals, the first in the pilot really was half-wolf (and noticeably so) but was thought to look too fierce so was replaced by a pure-bred Siberian Husky, who was also replaced with a lookalike after the show's hiatus.
- Pilot Movie
- The Rashomon: "Seeing is Believing," where Ray K, Thatcher, and Walsh all witness an argument between two men and a woman which ends with one of the men stabbed to death. Ray K thinks the young guy did it, Thatcher thinks the young woman did it, and Walsh thinks the two conspired to kill the other man as part of a mob war. it was actually a fourth man who created a distraction and then threw the knife at the victim
- Rear Window Witness: Fraser witnesses a crime through his hospital window in one episode.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: how Fraser ended up in Chicago after pissing off his entire chain of command. Chicago seems to be a dumping ground: Constable Turnbull seems to be too stupid to serve anywhere else, and even Inspector Thatcher isn't too keen on being there, and wants to transfer back to Toronto as soon as she can.
- Reverse Arm Fold: Fraser, constantly
- Running Gag
- Sarcastic Confession: In "Hawk and a Handsaw", Fraser manages to get himself committed in a psych ward (intentionally—he's going undercover) simply by showing up in full dress uniform and telling the precise truth about his past.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: Fraser, even in the middle of a city.
- Sherlock Scan: It's like a mountie-superpower.
- Shout-Out: The oft-repeated line, "that's not important right now."
- Sister Becky: The journalist Mackenzie King was played by two actresses; Ray's boss Lt. Welsh was re-cast after the Pilot Movie.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Waaaaaay over on the idealistic side. So much so that the times when it does even a slightly dark or ambiguous episode then they come across as a Non Sequitur Episode.
- Snarky Non-Human Sidekick: Diefenbaker, although a strictly non-verbal role the reactions of the rest of the cast (principally Fraser) and good direction by the animal handler somehow manage to make him fit this trope.
- Smug Snake: Frank Zucco, who likes to appear to be a suave business man who only cares for his community (as opposed to his extortion business), but after seeing him blatantly cheat while playing basketball with Fraser, it is impossible to see him as anything but a Smug Snake
- Spirit Advisor: Fraser Sr.
- Stealth Hi Bye: Fraser, in "A Cop, a Mountie, and a Baby".
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute (Ray is replaced for the final two seasons, for valid in-show reasons. Fraser spends most of the first episode trying to prove that the person who is manifestly not Ray is indeed not Ray while all the other characters pretend not to notice.)
- Take Five: When Vecchio wants to talk with Zucco in private after Zucco had Constable Fraser beaten to a pulp, Zucco tells his men to go get him and Ray some coffee. Ray proceeds to beat Zucco senseless.
- Take My Hand: Fraser Sr. to the man who had him killed, in "A Bird In The Hand". Subverted: Fraser Sr. is a ghost. His hands are intangible, just like the rest of him. You don't have to be a Mountie to deduce what happens next.
- However, despite being a ghost, Fraser Sr. is able to punch out the guy who murdered his wife.
- Technical Pacifist: Fraser rarely used a gun, but this was because he didn't have a license for one in the US. After they crossed the border into Canada, he turned out to be a very good shot.
- This, incidentally, being a serious Crowning Moment of Awesome.
Fraser: But right now, my friend, you're in the Dominion of Canada.
- That Didn't Happen: The "contact" in "All the Queen's Horses"
- That Was the Last Entry: Fraser reads his late father's journals occasionally throughout the series, and in "Easy Money" he tells a friend, "There's a short entry in one of my father's journals that reads 'My adversaries appear ready to listen. I'm nearing victory.' And that entry was written the day before he was shot."
- Theme Naming: The writers were quite fond of this. Names often had some sort of reference or pun, but were generally not MeaningfulNames; once you "got" the joke, there was usually no further significance to the name.
- Many of the Canadian characters are named after Canadian politicians or explorers: Fraser, Frobisher, Mackenzie King, Diefenbaker, etc.
- Not just Canadian, either - Margaret Thatcher?
- Ray's two rival detectives in his precinct are initially named Det. Huey and Det. Louis "Louie" Gardino. Ray dubs them the Duck Boys. After Louis is killed, he is replaced by Det. Dewey.
- Notably, nobody claims to call Huey and Louis the Duck Boys because of their names. Supposedly, it's because they're so smooth, nothing sticks to them, not even water. Ray did have cause to be snarky when he made that claim though.
- Other episodes would give the guest characters have all "artistic" names, all "Canadian hockey player" names, etc.
- Many of the Canadian characters are named after Canadian politicians or explorers: Fraser, Frobisher, Mackenzie King, Diefenbaker, etc.
- Theme Tune
- There Was a Door: Fraser, all the time.
Ray V: Do they not have doors in Canada?!
- Those Two Guys: Detectives Huey and Louis. Later, Huey and Dewey.
- Timmy in a Well: Diefenbaker can read lips in English and Inuktitut.
- Trouser Space: Mild example played for laughs. Fraser sneaks a case file past some obstructive FBI Agents by shoving it down his pants.
- Tsundere: Inspector Maggie Thatcher. More coldly contemptuous than easily angered, but aside from that it's a fairly apt description of her
- Turn in Your Badge: Happens to Ray V in Victoria's Secret and Fraser in Hunting Season.
- Two Scenes, One Dialogue: In Red, White or Blue, Fraser and Ray each spill out their frustrations aloud in their separate homes, and their words form one dialogue. In Seeing is Believing Fraser's interviews of Inspector Thatcher, Ray K and Welch blend smoothly from one to the next in midstream.
- Uncancelled: Twice, believe it or not. CBS canceled it after its first season, un-canceled it when CBS's next season lineup bombed, and then canceled it again after its second season. In both cases, the show's producers (Canadian company Alliance) saved it thanks to international funding, because of its success in Canada and elsewhere (hence financing from The BBC and Germany's Pro Sieben).
- Un Paused: In the notorious train episode. An entire train car full of Mounties is gassed and pass out while singing early in the episode. Right before the climax, every single one of them wakes up simultaneously, at which point they resume singing the chorus.
- UST: Fraser and his boss, Inspector Margaret "Meg" Thatcher.
- Verbal Tic: Frannie's messing up of police jargon, Ray K's trouble with remember words, Fraser's 'thank you, kindly', etc.
- Welcome to the Big City: Fraser in the pilot movie, except that—as befits the general theme of the show—some of it ends up coming out right in the end (e.g., the panhandler he "loans" $100 to returns it at the end of the episode).
- In "White Men Can't Jump To Conclusions," Fraser has to leave his boots behind in a bad part of the city in order to save a kid that's been shot—and his boots disappear. Fraser is certain that some Good Samaritan picked the boots up off the street in order to find him and at the end of the episode is proven entirely right
- Western Terrorists: in "All the Queen's Horses," a train carrying a whole bunch of mounties is captured by a White Supremacist group. Randall Bolt, the leader, later returns to cause chaos at his trial
- What Could Have Been: Originally, the real life wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald was going to be used in 'Mountie on the Bounty', but after talking to the families, Paul Gross opted for a fictional ship. Also, if the show had ended after season one, it was indicated Fraser would have been said to have died after being shot.
- What You Are in the Dark: "You see, no one knew that I had found her. The police didn't even know her name. I could just let her go and she could walk away that night."
- Where Are They Now? Epilogue
- Whole-Episode Flashback: In an episode appropriately called "Flashback".
- Whole-Plot Reference: "Chicago Holiday" was an affectionate remake of the Audrey Hepburn classic Roman Holiday.
- Worst Aid: A man is hit by a car and Fraser carries him to the hospital, hoisted over his shoulders. Maybe they don't have ambulances in Canada?
- Written by Cast Member: "All The Queen's Horses," "Red, White Or Blue," "Burning Down The House" and the two-parters "Mountie On The Bounty" and "Call Of The Wild" were written or co-written by Paul Gross.
- Yandere: Victoria
- You Can See Me?: In "Hunting Season", Constable Maggie MacKenzie can see the ghost of Fraser's father. "All The Queen's Horses" had a variation of sorts, with Fraser and Buck both surprised the other could see Bob.
- Mama Lala appears aware of Bob's existence as well in "Mojo Rising"
- You Fail Linguistics Forever: in "A Hawk and a Handsaw," Fraser says that the Inuit have over 60 words for snow. (Linguist Geoffrey Pullum estimates that the actual number is around five, roughly the same as in English.) The trope is somewhat averted in that this is a very widespread myth, but Fraser's character is a stickler for detail who grew up in a part of Canada with a large Inuit population; you'd think he'd have noticed the 50-some-odd missing words for snow, at some point.
- You Have Failed Me...: In the episode Gift of the Wheelman, the leader of the bag guys pulls this one out of the villain's playbook.
- You Killed My Father: Fraser's motivation for going to Chicago to begin with was to make sure the Chicago Police Department were making an effort to find his father's killer. He ended up getting involved in the investigation, and things spun off from there.
- Fraser faces the man responsible for his father's death in "A Bird In The Hand". There's even a wonderful subversion in that, after Fraser takes off the guy's cuffs for Honor Before Reason reasons, Ray V promptly re-cuffs him, to Fraser's dismay.
- A variation gets brought up as a book end. In the series finale, Fraser and the gang (including both Rays working together at one point go up against the gun runner who killed his mother.
- You Look Familiar: Maury Chaykin plays secret agent Pike in "Spy Vs. Spy" and shipping depot and sweat shop owner Gutman in "Mojo Rising"
- Also, Martha Burns as a Russian spy/terrorist and then as Fraser's mother
- You Would Do the Same For Me
- By the end of the episode, after Ray Vecchio beats Zuko senseless in his own gym, Zuko suddenly finds that he is no longer respected or feared. This has consequences in the next season of the show.
- One of Zuko's lieutenants witnesses the beatdown, evidently loses all respect for him, and in the second season episode Juliet Is Bleeding, this causes a chain of events that result in the murder of Detective Gardino, the accidental killing of Irene Zuko, and the destruction of Ray's first or second prized 1972 Buick Riviera