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He was brought across in 1228. Preyed on humans for their blood. Now he wants to be mortal again. To repay society for his sins. To emerge from his world of darkness. From his endless, forever night.
 
— Voiceover from Forever Knight

Forever Knight is a television series that ran from 1992 to 1996. It is based on a 1989 CBS television movie, Nick Knight, that starred Rick Springfield as the title character. This was remade as the first two episodes of the series, which was broadcast by CBS as part of its Crimetime After Primetime lineup. Filming was shifted to Toronto, and the show was recast, with Geraint Wyn Davies now playing Nick Knight. Despite a hiatus after the first season and a shift to first-run syndication, Forever Knight eventually ran for three seasons.

Forever Knight chronicles the life of Nick Knight, a thirteenth century vampire living in a modern metropolis. Knight seeks to regain his mortality and rid himself of the savage blood lust that has consumed him for more than 700 years by once again embracing the mortal world.

He takes his first step toward the world of the living when he joins the city's police force. Serving as a homicide detective permanently assigned to the night shift, Knight sets out to clean up the crime ridden city with the help of his partner—initially, Don Schanke; and, after Schanke's death, Tracy Vetter. Despite a change in precincts and a succession of different superiors, Knight proves to have a talent for solving murder mysteries. Nevertheless, each reminds him of his own deadly past, reinforcing his desire for redemption and mortality.

Aiding him in his quest is Dr. Natalie Lambert, a pathologist with the Coroner's Office. The only mortal privy to his dark secret, she uses her medical expertise to search for a way to restore his mortality while her friendship helps him adjust to his new life. A devoted friend and confidante, she describes his condition as a severe allergy to sunlight, and will always step forward with a medical explanation when his strange ailment is questioned by Nick's suspicious police captain.

Tortured by the evil he committed in the past, Knight has distanced himself from the vampire community in order to rediscover mortal thoughts and feelings. Some in the community, however, are not pleased by his flight from the shadows. LaCroix, who gave Nick his immortality, wants him back and will do whatever it takes to conquer his former pupil's morbid qualms about the vampire state. Janette, his former lover, still secretly yearns for his eternal love and embrace.

Still relying on blood to sustain him, Nick faces a constant struggle to suppress his savage hunger to feed. With each passing day, however, he learns to deal with the rage that torments his soul, bringing him one step closer to mortality.

Alternative TitlesEdit

Although the original English-language title of the show is Forever Knight, it has other names in other countries.[1]

  • El señor de las tinieblas (Spain)
  • Le justicier des ténèbres (France)
  • Maldição Eterna (Brazil)
  • Nick Knight - Der Vampircop (Germany)

Appeal to FansEdit

In May 1996, there was a discussion on the main Forever Knight mailing list, FORKNI-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU about the particular reasons list members liked the series. This was sparked by a post by Susan Garrett, "Why Do YOU Watch FK?", made 16 May,[1] with responses over the next couple of days.

Susan asked the following questions, though not all fans who responded addressed all points:

  • Why did the fan watch FK? Did the fan have preferences between the vampire and cop aspects of the show?
  • Regarding flashbacks:
    • Would the fan have preferred more or fewer flashbacks? Or perhaps equal time to flashbacks and the current day portions of the show?
    • Would the fan have liked to see historical stories with no or little current day plot (as in "1966"?
    • Would the fan have liked to see more non-historical flashbacks (as in "Curiouser and Curiouser" or "Stranger than Fiction")?
  • Did the fan watch for one character in particular; and, if so, which?
  • Did the fan watch for one relationship pair in particular (or more than one); and, if so, which?

Among the longer responses, the following are of particular interest:


There are actually two questions here. Why did I watch it the first time, and why do I keep watching it.

A year or so ago, I didn't like vampires or vampire shows. I didn't particularly like cop shows, either. But I saw this funny, cute guy on Sci-Fi Buzz say that he liked working on this show called "Forever Knight" because he got to say lines like "you cling to your paganism like lichen to a stone." Several minutes of hysterical laughter later, I was flipping through the TV Guide to find out when this show was broadcast.

A few weeks later, after a couple of interesting but not terrific episodes, I saw "The Fix." And was totally and utterly hooked.

I think it is the struggle between good and evil, and the search for redemption, that has kept me watching the show. And of course the acting, which is phenomenal. If Nick weren't a vampire, but instead was a werewolf or an alcoholic or an ex-mercenary or a former wife-beater who was struggling to deal with good and evil and was seeking redemption for past sins, I'd still be watching. (Although I must admit the vampire aspect is very intriguing.) If Nick worked on repaying his sins as a sailor or a private eye or a hobo or a hot-dog vendor rather than as a cop, I'd still be watching.

Most of my favorite episodes have had an important vampire aspect to the storyline, so I guess I would have preferred the balance to be tipped a bit more towards vampires and a bit less towards the cop show.

I like the mix of forward story and flashbacks. And I even like the episodes that had dream sequences instead of flashbacks.

— excerpted from Allison Percy's post, "Re: Why Do YOU Watch FK?", 16 May 1996[2]



It was the modern feel to it; of vampires in present-day Toronto, ones who are aware of all the old cliches about themselves, all the bad movies, all the tired jokes, who are coping and evolving as they adapt to the world. They aren't walking around in silly tuxedos (much as I enjoy DRACULA:The Series, it is irredeemably silly), they make night baseball and Betty Ford Clinic jokes, and they aren't killing randomly anymore, since they can drink bottled blood. They manage night clubs. They are late-night disc jockeys, and graveyard shift television film editors, and computer hackers. And cops, yes, who can plea "allergies" and get away with it.

If it had been only about vampires and their blood drinking, I would have gotten really bored. If it had been a cop show, well---I might have watched. I loved "Night Heat", another Canadian cop show. But I wouldn't have gotten hooked.

The idea of something as metaphysical and fantastical as vampires coexisting with DNA testing and ballistics is just really appealing.

I don't think I would have gotten as addicted as I did, though, if it hadn't been for the wonderful, Shakespearean feel some of the actors gave the old Good vs. Evil conflict. All those flashbacks---and the wonderful costumes, and the accents, and the idea of the past influencing the present---filled out the scope, set against the really *normal* humans like Schanke and Natalie. And a vampire like Janette! Soooo cool.

— excerpted from Christina L. Kamnikar's post, "Why do you like FK?", 17 May 1996[3]



I started watching FK waaaaay back when, Crimetime After Primetime, and truly enjoyed the historic flashbacks and the fact that the show's writer's seemed to be not only more intelligent than the average show writer (apologies to any on the list!) but that they gave the viewer credit for intelligence also. Familiarity with arcane events, great moments in history and some really snide asides from the characters added to the show's appeal. Each show seemed to contain references to literature, historical incidents, music, and art that just weren't available in other programs. All this, plus the fact that the actors seemed to enjoy themselves on the show - they weren't just mouthing lines.

I'm not big on cop shows and have never been a vampire fan - I always flashed onto George Hamilton's Dracula whenever anyone mentioned vampires! But FK touched a chord and it wasn't the particular actors involved, it was the ideas presented behind each show. Janette was a fascinating creation and I do wish that she had been showcased much more than she ever was.

— excerpted from Jackie's post, "Re: Why Do YOU Watch FK?", 17 May 1996[4]



While I enjoy the cop shop aspects of FK, cop shows are a dime a dozen on TV. I watch mostly for the vampire. I love the flashbacks and I wouldn't mind seeing an ep that was mostly historical. Unlike some other people, I enjoyed seeing historical characters (Joan of Arc, Conan Doyle, etc) in the flashbacks even though they were not entirely accurate. After all, if I can suspend belief to allow for a vampire cop, believing Rasputin was a vampire isn't all that much more of a leap. :-)

I also watch it because FK is one of the few shows that do not insult my intelligence. It is so different from the endless sitcoms with their canned laughter at 5-second intervals. Mediocrity rules, unfortunately!

I am still awed by the courage of the shows producers. In the pilot episode (Dark Knight) of a brand new show, the teaser was mostly in French! Would Spelling have had the guts to do something like that...NOT! They have never compromised: if a script had a scene in Chinatown, the dialogue was in Cantonese. If it was about a story with an MS sufferer, they cast a woman with MS for the role.

Even their choice of supporting actors is different. A black, female judge, a Native American police captain, a female Japanese-Canadian captain - a noticeable change from TV shows south of the border which seem to have either all-white or all-black casts.

The interplay of the various characters is what matters to me the most. Nick, LC, Nat, Janette, Schanke, even Vachon and Tracy grew on me after a while. I can't imagine a show without them. I REFUSE to imagine a show without them.

— excerpted from Marg Yamanaka's post, "Fwd: Why Do YOU Watch FK?", 17 May 1996[5]



I'm attracted to the vampire element a lot - their powers and immortality - but more than that, I watch Forever Knight for the characters, in particular Nick. His ability to function in the mortal world with occasional humor and certainly with the desire to do good - that after 800 years of a not-so-terrific life (in which he himself has been the cause of so much pain to others and certainly to himself). I feel for him strongly because of the pain and guilt he carries, and want so much to help him let all that go so he can at last come to a certain comfort level in his life. (Okay, so I'm a Dark Knightie!!)

Also, despite ["Last Knight"], the show is about life and living. Life is revered and treasured, and Nick's regard for human life in the past century is honorable. This is an underlying element to his psyche that I like - that Nick loves life and yearns to achieve a goodness in his life. It's even an attribute in LaCroix that I've come to admire - the zest for living. I admit that the idea of immortality is attractive - or at least to be able to live a significantly longer life span. I've been in awe that a show about vampires could be so strongly about life and goodness. I *love* Forever Knight for that!

— excerpted from Marcia Tucker's post, "Why I Watch Forever Knight", 20 May 1996[6]


Most fans did not answer any one question at such length.

Vampire vs. Cop: Reasons to WatchEdit

Fans' reasons for watching Forever Knight often involved a discussion of their relative interest in the vampire and cop aspects of the series:

  • "I watch it because I loved the concept of a Vampire cop trying to become mortal, seeking redemption." — Kevin Matsumoto[7]
  • "I like strong male characters and the show gave me that. I also like strong female characters and that is why Natalie and Janette really appealed to me." — B. Janine Morison[8]
  • "I actually don't like vamps that much, so I guess the cop show. But it was more than that...romance, drama, a little comedy. There were some very deep thoughts about humanity and what it is to be human." — Tigon Diana Hooker[9]
  • "Actually, I think I'm a major anomaly on this list. I don't usually like *either* vampire *or* cop stuff-- but I *love* FK. What I like is the *relationships*. All the characters are real, 3-D people; even the ones I hate (and I *loathe* LC sometimes, especially 1st-Season LC) are so real I can't help but be fascinated by them. My favorite shows are the ones that manage to balance the cop and vampire elements." — Diane Echelbarger[10]
  • "I'm not altogether sure that I would have become a fan if the show if it had been a straight "vampire" show, but I *know* wouldn't have even begun to have watched it if it had been a straight "cop" show. It was the combination that hooked me." — Christine Hawkins[11]
  • "The thing that hooked me was the feel of drama on the show. Like a classic theatre production with dark history and nobel characters. The eternal struggle between good and evil, all within the soul of one man. Vampire, ha. Cop, ha. A good audience craves not these things. <g> I wanted to know more about this guy (and what a good looking one, at that) and his struggle." — Carrie Krumtum[12]
  • "I think the vampire vs. cop plot made for interesting parallels (for ex., good vs. evil). I think it was also rather essential for the plot. A 'good' vampire cop wanting to "repay his debts to society". Certainly caught and kept my attention..." — Mel Moser[13]
  • "I became fascinated with the whole vampire mythos when I saw "Dracula" when I was 6. That was 20 years ago and they still fascinate me. I like what they represent- raw sensuality, the forbidden, freedom, and of course immortality. The first ep of FK I saw was Dark Knight, and I think it incorporated all of those elements. So, I kept watching. I don't care for the cop stuff. I hate cop shows." — Michelle Mark[14]
  • "Because it didn't "look" like other TV, because it made me laugh and occasionally think, because there was always fascinating discussion going on about it on this list and mainly because it wasn't completely predictable and boring like most TV. Silly at times, but always in a very knowing way, like "yes we know this is melodramatic as hell, but aren't you enjoying it?" I enjoyed seeing all the characters interact and deal with problems, not always in the expected way. Basically, humor, unpredictability and some complexity." — Toni C. Holm[15]
  • "I thought it was going to be cheezy at first; I was very skeptical. The idea was unique though, and I was attracted to watching it (give it a chance). I was hooked. I like it mainly for its philosophical/religious undertones. A show that deals with the meaning of life. Deep." — Tanya Smith[16]
  • "I watch FK because it is *good*. That's really the only criterion that I use. I don't normally watch cop shows, and I do have a slight fascination for vampires, but I don't watch for either of those elements. I watch it for the characters." — Marina Bailey[17]
  • "I watch it because I love the flashbacks and the whole concept of trying to be better than you are while still staying true to your nature. It's a helluva lot harder than people give credit for." — Jerimi Paul[18]
  • "I watched it because of the interaction between the characters... Most shows don't go to that much effort..." — Abby Albrecht[19]
  • "Not because it's a vampire show - until last winter, I would not have thought it possible to care this much about a show featuring a "vampire cop." It's the wonderful combination of story, great acting, and marvelous production (and all on a shoe-string budget!)." — Cyndi Knecht[20]
  • "It's not that I don't like cop shows as a genre, but there's no way I'd have stayed up in the middle of the night and worked in a zombie-like trance next day for a cop show. (My local station couldn't be trusted, when FK was on CBS, to show it when it was listed.) I'd simply have said, hey, nice show, pity it's on at such a bad hour and left it alone." — Lisa McDavid[21]
  • "I can relate to it. I've been there, all of it, in my own way. I know the way Nick angsts; I'm like that on a seasonal basis. I understand Nat's frustration with Nick, how she can love him but still be on the brink of giving up sometimes, and the way she tolerates with ever-shortening patience the insults (ignoring her regime, ignoring her, etc.) he flings at her, just because she wants to help him; [...]. I've been Tracy, the new person, trying to make a good impression and not considered the greatest authority. I've been Janette, the meld of amorality and compassion, where nothing stands in the way of what you need to do and who you need to be, and the dark past which forces you to go on (different past from Janette's, but shudderingly similar). I understand Divia, and how hatred can grow from a seed. Vachon and his semi-cynical wonder of the world; Urs' blind, trusting innocence; Screed's liveliness and enthusiasm for what he is. Most of all, though, I understand LaCroix, and how a dark, poetic, cold, and logical shell can be the layers of stone around a grain of sharp black sand. I think this may be why all of us actually watch and love the show, the characters, why we choose factions. In a way, they aren't figments brought to life by humans, they're us. They represent our dreams, hopes, pains, loves and losses, our deepest selves and what makes us go on to the next day in this broken little world. In one word: recognition." — Lady Sushi[22]

FlashbacksEdit

Fans' comments on the flashbacks include the following:

  • "I think they balanced it out properly, I don't think they should generally give more time to the past then the present. It would have been interesting to have a more past orientated show occasionally, like "1966." I also think that, considering there was 800 years of history, they seemed to limit themselves a great deal on what could have been done. Also, just once I would have liked to see a human Nick in the crusades, perhaps giving us even greater insight into his decision to cross over." — Tigon Diana Hooker[23]
  • "I don't give a darn about history. As long as the flashbacks elucidate on the characters, I could care less. I love character development--its my favorite aspect of any genre ( I love Lacroix and Nick's complexities)." — Tanya Smith[24]

Preferred CharactersEdit

Fans' discussion of characters includes the following:

NickEdit

  • "I love Nick, his angst, his duality between good (humanity) and evil (vampirism), and ahh, his looks :) (big lusty sigh)." — B. Janine Morison[25]
  • "I watched for Nick, his struggle to repair his human spirit...this to me was the key of the show." — Tigon Diana Hooker[26]
  • "Without a doubt, the center of the whole series is Nick. He is the tragic hero facing multiple obstacles and challenges on his endless quest for mortality and redemption. It was always interesting to see how he faced them. By doing so and succeeding, he reminds us that we too can overcome obstacles in our lives." — Mel Moser[27]

EnsembleEdit

  • "I honestly think the show works best as an ensemble. Anytime they focus too much on *any* character, even Nick (Yes, I know it's called Forever *Knight*!), the show loses that wonderful balance it has." — Diane Echelbarger[28]

Preferred RelationshipsEdit

Fans' discussion of relationships between the characters includes the following:

  • "I rooted heavily for [Nick's] relationship with Nat, but of course his relationship with LaCroix is wonderfully complex." — Tigon Diana Hooker[29]
  • "The main reason, without a doubt for me, was Nick & Nat. Most shows don't handle romantic relationships between main characters very well. Usually they turn out too soap-opera-ish or boring. This relationship was mainly about unrequited love and desire, about true love that endures no matter what or how long they must wait. It's very seldom do you see this old romantic "I'll die for you" kind of love. Not only did it make the show interesting as you watched the relationship evolve over the 3 seasons, but it also made for great fan fiction for us hopeless romantics..." — Mel Moser[30]
  • "I was never sold on the Nick /Nat relationship, and I would rather have seen Janette with LC than Nick. Nick shouldn't be paired with any women, period. He needs to find himself first or he will drag everyone down with him. Which he has pretty much done. <ducking and covering from Natpackers and Immortal Beloveds and Knighties> The perfect pair? LC and Janette." — Michelle Mark[31]

See AlsoEdit

Jasmine's Biased History of Forever Knight

List of ReferencesEdit

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