- Affably Evil: This only applies if we were to consider Emily an Anti-Villain rather than an Nominal Hero. Despite her calculating, cold, revenge-driven side, she can be nice to those she's not out to get and who don't get in her way, such as Jack and Charlotte.
- Bellisario's Maxim: Executive producer Mike Kelley has stated that they are aware of the problem with the dog's age but would prefer if the viewers simply ignored it.
Kelley: We get a lot of flack for how old that dog is but, you know what, as far as I’m concerned, he can stick around for the whole run.
- Complete Monster: Dr. Michelle Banks, the psychologist who was in charge of Amanda after her father's arrest. It's not only that she caused Amanda to be institutionalized after accepting a bribe from Victoria, but the glee she took in telling Amanda how she could never see her father again, that she was a bad girl, and could never do anything more than pretend to be good. After Amanda's revenge ruined her practice kidnapped her, and locked her in a shipping crate for several hours, the only complaint fans had was that the doctor had gotten off too easy.
- Although her revenge is pure Nightmare Fuel - with everyone else, the damage is done by the end of the episode. Dr. Banks still has no idea who kidnapped her or why, and will likely spend the rest of her life terrified they'll come back.
- Ensemble Darkhorse: Nolan seems to be going this way.
- Fridge Logic: Sammy the dog is about how old now?
- Possibly a reference to Classical Mythology, specifically Odysseus's dog Argos recognizing his master after 20 years of separation.
- In fairness, Sammy's apparently been at the end of his life this whole time.
- Jerkass Woobie: Emily. It's hard not to root for her after all the Graysons have done to her father, and her by extension. Their actions, however, have led to Emily becoming a Tragic Monster who's hellbent on making sure they suffer, and she cares very little for collateral damage. At first, anyway.
- Les Yay: Amanda and the real Emily Thorne.
- Ho Yay: Nolan with Tyler, Declan and Jack (slightly).
- Magnificent Bastard: Emily Thorne, which comes naturally from being based on Edmond Dantes. For starters, she arranges an affair for the husband of Lydia, who gave testimony against her father, exposes Lydia's own affair with the husband of her main target, obtains photographic evidence to make sure Lydia gets nothing in the divorce she started after discovering her husband's adultery, and walks away with a perfectly established cover and full ownership of Lydia's former beach house. And that's the start of her plan.
- The Scrappy: Declan Porter, an angsty Emo Teen with Parental Issues (his father had a heart attack after hearing how Declan hates him and blames him for their financial troubles) who is also in love with a girl way above his social standing - so far, the weakest storyline on the show.
- Special mention must go to the moment where, after it's revealed that the father's heart attack was fatal, Declan is utterly cold and uncaring, claiming that he still thinks his father is a pathetic loser. He nearly tops this in a later episode when he bitches out Emily for "leading Jack on"... while at a dinner party at the Grayson's with Daniel, Victoria, Conrad, Emily and Charlotte in attendance, making him look like a petty child (and ruining the dinner).
- Rescued from the Scrappy Heap? Too soon to say for certain, but Declan's sensitive and mature efforts to help Charlotte deal with the revelation that she's David Clarke's daughter and his attempts to prevent Jack from being recognized as the guy on the beach suggest that the character may be salvageable.
- Replacement Scrappy: Declan has become a lot more likeable and stronger as a character, while Charlotte has become a veritable Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. Of course, Reckoning hits us with a very bad Alas, Poor Scrappy for her.
- Sympathy for the Devil: It's hard not to feel a little sympathy for the corrupt biographer whose house Emily burns to the ground, especially if you're a writer yourself (he only had one copy of his manuscript - and she used it as kindling). His complete BSOD - falling to the ground sobbing is what makes it work.
- Victoria and Conrad often have scenes where it is hard to not feel sympathy for them. Many of the horrible things they do are meant to protect their children.
- Tear Jerker: The death of Sammy.
- Made all the worse by Jack's explanation that Sammy is not just his best friend - he's also the last connection he has to Amanda.
- Villain Protagonist: YMMV considering Emily's reasons for her revenge, and that her targets are just as conniving.
- The Woobie: Poor Daniel Grayson, who is genuinely trying to be a good person, but is being manipulated by his best friend and girlfriend, becomes a pawn in his parent's divorce, is framed for murder and has to choose whether to reveal the truth about David Clarke and thus destroy his family
- At least at first.
- Nolan is pretty Woobie-ish himself, seeing as he has to pay people to be his friends. You can't help but cheer when Jack decides he actually wants to be his friend for real.