Dames and Double-Crosses: 9 Times TV Shows Went Noir (VIDEO)

Dan Clarendon
Film Noir TV Episodes Supernatural Smallville Fringe
The CW, Fox

The smoke is thick, the shadows are deep, everything is black and white, and your favorite TV characters are rocking fedoras and Mid-Atlantic accents. Yep, you’re watching a noir episode.

Television writers love to pay homage to the film noir genre — and to exemplars like The Big Sleep, Double Indemnity, and The Maltese Falcon — often relying on dreams and hallucinations to get their characters out of their modern-day existences and into a world of hardboiled detectives, femmes fatale, and deceit.

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Or sometimes, the character is just centuries old. Netflix’s Lucifer is doing its own spin on the genre, for example, with an upcoming episode that charts the eponymous devil’s visit to Los Angeles in the 1940s. Keep reading for details on that installment and eight other TV episodes that went noir, you hear?

Boy Meets World

In Season 7’s “As Time Goes By,” Topanga (Danielle Fishel) falls into a time-continuum vortex while cleaning her closet and ends up in a noir reality in which she’s working as a waitress named Trixie working at the Shangri-La Café.

Castle

Castle (Nathan Fillion) imagines a noir world as he uses a 1940s private investigator’s journal to solve a modern-day crime in Season 4’s “The Blue Butterfly.”

Fringe

In Season 2’s “Brown Betty,” Walter (John Noble) hallucinates a noir storyline after smoking the titular home-grown marijuana strain, picturing FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) as a private eye investigating the disappearance of Peter (Joshua Jackson).

Legends of Tomorrow

Season 5’s “Miss Me, Kiss Me, Love Me” sees the Legends traveling to 1947 and clashing with a revived “Encore” version of real-life mobster Bugsy Siegel.

The Librarians

Flynn (Noah Wyle) and Baird (Rebecca Romijn) become trapped in Baird’s favorite film noir film in Season 4’s “… And the Silver Screen,” and the Librarians realize the duo can’t escape until they direct the plot to its originally scripted ending.

Lucifer

“What’s nice about noir is it’s detective stories, but Lucifer isn’t a detective yet,” Lucifer co-showrunner Joe Henderson said of Season 5’s “It Never Ends Well for the Chicken” in an Entertainment Weekly interview. “So what we’re almost seeing, to a certain extent, is Lucifer’s first case.”

One Tree Hill

Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) falls asleep while watching Casablanca in Season 6’s “We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me)” and imagines himself as a nightclub owner and Peyton (Hilarie Burton) as a damsel in distress.

Smallville

Jimmy (Aaron Ashmore) dreams up a 1940s version of Metropolis — and a murder plot between Lana (Kristin Kreuk) and Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) — after he’s knocked unconscious midway through a screening of The Big Sleep in Season 6’s aptly-named “Noir.”

Supernatural

The CW drama took a page from The Maltese Falcon with Season 13’s “A Most Holy Man,” in which Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) chase down a relic stolen from a church in Malta.