Abyss is an increasingly popular and ground-breaking television series produced on ABC in the NAL. It premiered in the autumn of 2002. Each of its seasons have numbered fifteen episodes, but are densely laden with clues about later storylines. As a result, fans get an especial pleasure from watching the shows time and again.
Abyss is the story of Deputy Inspector Duncan Bishop, an officer with the CBI on reserve status because of a trauma associated with his last case, five years before. He is an Offender Analyst, one of the best at discerning details about criminals from the crimes themselves. Because of this, his former partner, Chief Inspector Emreis Cross has managed to have him used by the Bureau in helping hunt down certain difficult cases of serial crime.
Assigned to "baby sit" Bishop are Special Agent Louise Urquart and Senior Special Agent Hypatia "Hi" Littledove, who have been partners for two years. The four of them--Cross, Bishop, Urquart and Littledove--make up one of three Serial Crimes Task Forces (STF), in their case STF-3. Their specific mandate is to investigate serial crimes, especially murder, and/or particularly exotic cases.
One major aspect of the series is how every single character has loads of secrets, none of which have yet to be completely revealed. All, however, are the focus of flashbacks sooner or later, revealing details from their past when appropriate for the given story.
Bishop, for example, has been revealed to have studied for the priesthood back in New Scotland, but the reason he quit remains unknown. Likewise, the prescription drugs he takes certainly include anti-depressants but probably more than that. The fact he was married was known from the first episode but most assumed him to be a widower--until a show about his ex-wife's new husband's murder. In the course of that episode, we learned the husband was part of the discipline and bondage subculture, as well as being a friend of Bishop's.
Littledove is separated from her husband when the show begins, but they eventually reconcile. The reason for their split turns out to be an affair with Cross, one that may or may not be ongoing. Likewise, it turns out her brother is a professional criminal associated with the Pegre.
Urquarht (played by Portia Moon) is very ambitious, and was a brilliant student. Her elegant demeanor hides a poverty-ridden childhood as well as physical abuse at the hands of her grandfather. But a further secret was revealed when she began a secret relationship with Bishop's mother a year after they met (Bishop's mother is played by Atlanta Wells).
Cross, meanwhile, belongs to some kind of secret society called the Opus Obscurum which has its attention on Bishop for some reason.
Speculation and fan fiction are common among watchers of the show, who have even begun to have conventions to trade ideas and analyze aspects of the stories.
Season One (2002-03)
The first season was primarily concerned with introducing the characters against the backdrop of their work, tracking down serial killers. During the course of Season One, we are introduced to Arvin Roarke, the so-called "Breuckelen Strangler" whom Bishop caught and who seems fascinated by the whole idea of Offender Analysis. A surprisingly astute person for someone kept in an asylum for the criminally insane, Roarke seems to realize he is somehow evil and believes that aspect of himself might one day be purged. By season's end, we begin to see Cross reporting to shadowy figures who identify themselves as Opus Obscurum.
Season Two (2003-04)
The second season began with the murder of Arvin Roarke, and the investigation into his murder was an arc that spanned six episodes. Along the way, we hear for the first time about the mysterious Operation Looking Glass with which both Cross and Bishop were involved. Meanwhile, both Littledove and Urquart begin quiet investigations of Bishop, independent of one another. Littledove is even approached obliquely by a member of Opus Obscurum, but never learns she was being sounded out for possible recruitment.
Season Three (2004-05)
As the third season began, Bishop had become aware he was himself under intense scrutiny, and for agendas that were not immediately clear. If anything be began to act even more mysteriously, in the process becoming far more aggressive in his investigative techniques. In the first two seasons he seemed closer to Littledove, but now he and Urquart found themselves increasingly in tune with one another.
Season Four (2005-06)
The fourth season increasingly focuses on the secret of Operation Looking Glass, especially after a series of serial killers show similar ritualistic aspects. All it turn out have been under the influence of a former CBI officer named Sam Marlowe who vanished about the same time Bishop had a nervous breakdown.
Season Five (2006-07)
Picking up where the previous season ended, Cross has been shot and left for dead, yet Urquart finds and gets him to a hospital. Investigating this attempted assassination brings the Opus Obscurum out into the (relative) open as the three detectives discern that factions within that organization are becoming desperate. They believe the Biblical End Times are approaching, but strongly disagree about their proper role. The rest of the season keeps coming back to these two factions, the "Wolves" and the "Eagles". This season begins the rivalry between STF-3 and another task force, STF-9 which tries to recruit Littledove.
Season Six (2007-08)
At this point, Bishop has revealed that some of the drugs he takes are an experimental treatment for a rare form of cancer, currently in remission. But now the powerful TransMedical Corporation which created the treatment is somehow involved in a group of serial killings in the NAL and Louisianne. The so-called "faction war" turns out also to be involved, as key officials in TransMedical are members of the Opus Obscurum. Conflict with STF-9 continues as well, with one member finally gaining proof of Urquart's affair with Bishop's mother.
Season Seven (2008-09)