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Toby Logan (Craig Olejnik) is a Toronto paramedic with a special power: He can hear people's thoughts. With his partner Osman "Oz" Bey (Ennis Esmer) and his on-again, off-again ex Dr. Olivia Fawcett (Mylène Dinh-Robic), Toby helps people he encounters in his work.

In Season 1, Toby helps Detective Charlie Marks (Lisa Marcos) investigate crimes for the police, but his main focus is discovering what happened to his mother and understanding his powers with the help of his mentor, Ray Mercer (Colm Feore). The show abandons this storyline and characters for Season 2 and focuses on the crimesolving, with Toby becoming an official police informant for Sergeant Michelle McCluskey (Lauren Lee Smith) and Corp. Dev Clark (Rainbow Sun Francks).

The Listener has completed its first two seasons in Canada, its country of origin, and the first season has been released on DVD (but only for Region 2). As of June 1, 2011, it has been renewed for a third season, which is expected to premiere in 2012. ION will begin showing reruns in 2012.

This series has examples of:

  • All Asians Are Alike: A woman from Hong Kong in episode six is named "Kim". This is uncommon among Chinese, as opposed to Koreans or Vietnamese (as a family name). It's possible that this is her "English name".[1] Also, she's played by Li Ching Song, born in Malaysia (though that country is 24% Chinese).
  • Ambiguously Brown: The amnesiac patient of the second season premiere.
  • Baker's Dozen: The first season was thirteen episodes. Same with the second season.
  • Blessed with Suck: Toby; the extra electrical activity from reading people's minds is literally going to kill him if he continues doing it.
  • Blue Eyes: Toby. There will often be a blue tinge to scenes (like in CSI: NY) that emphasizes his eyes.
  • Bound and Gagged: Marks in "One Way or Another".
  • Bruce Wayne Held Hostage: Variation in that the kidnappers of "Desperate Hours" aren't demanding Toby.
  • Cassandra Truth: Toby can't get people to listen without letting the cat out of the bag.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Toby, unsurprisingly, since he's already a paramedic.
  • Corrupt Cop: Mike Henderson in the first episode.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: Subverted in that when he's kidnapped in "Desperate Hours", his fellow hostage (Oz) knows about his powers and no explaining is needed. Unfortunately, his power is more subtler than most and barely kept them alive.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Toby decides that his telepathy is a gift rather than a curse.
  • Dead(?) Little Brother: Toby remembers a baby brother.
  • Demoted to Extra: Mercer.
  • Driven to Suicide: There's one in "Jericho" who turns out to be Hackgirl's father.
    • Most of the ex-biker gang in "Reckoning," thanks to the suggestion powers of the girl of the family they murdered.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Lampshaded in the first episode:

 Oz: I thought for sure it was gonna blow.

Toby: It's not a movie, Oz. It doesn't happen that way.

(Car blows up.)

  • Exact Eavesdropping: Occasionally.
  • Fair Cop: Det. Marks.
  • Foster Kid: Toby is one.
  • Friend on the Force: First Charlie Marks, now Sgt. McCluskey.
  • Healing Hands: Iris. Supposedly.
  • Heroic Fatigue : This turns out to be a plot point in that Toby will die if he continues to use his powers and in the second season finale, shuts off his telepathy
  • Hospital Hottie: Foster.
  • I Have This Friend: Oz in the episode "A Voice in the Dark" is trying to figure out what's going on with Toby, but doesn't want to bring Toby's name into it -- so he tells his Ryder that he has a friend who's been acting strangely, getting distracted on the job, etc. Ryder at first thinks Oz is talking about himself, but later, when Oz mentions that it's as if his friend can tell what he's thinking, the supervisor jumps to the conclusion that Oz is talking about him.
  • Instant Humiliation - Just Add YouTube: A politician's sex tape gets leaked to the Internet and goes viral seemingly instantly.
  • Is That What They're Calling It Now?: Right after Toby has been teasing Oz about how all he thinks about is his new girlfriend:

 Oz: Look, if I do Ryder a favor or two, he could help me switch some shifts and I can sync up with Sandy's schedule.

Toby: Is that what it's called nowadays?

 Oz: I don't want to poop on your parade, here...

  • Mysterious Past: Toby can't remember his past as a young child and throughout the first season each episode some bits and pieces are remembered which leaves you hoping that there's a second season and that they'll just spit it out.
  • Parental Abandonment: Both of Toby's parents are out of the picture. He never knew his dad and doesn't know what happened to his mom who apparently jumped into a river with him when he was little while running away from something...
  • Phone Trace Race: In "Vanished," a kidnapper freaks out at her partner when he stays on the phone longer than 15 seconds, believing that this will allow the police to trace them. (They can't get a trace anyway.)
  • Psychic Powers: Obviously.
  • Rape as Backstory: Charlie was raped by a teacher. This is used to explain why she is so upset about Toby being able to read her mind, because no-one who hasn't been raped is ever protective of their privacy, no sir.
  • Screwed by the Network: In America! Killed by NBC in favor of Law and Order reruns.
  • Secret Keeper: Mercer, and later Oz, Marks, and Olivia. In the second season, they are joined by Michelle McCluskey and Dev Clark.
  • Shout-Out: Toby is confidential informant number A1138. (Probably more of a shout out to Star Wars, which frequently references the number 1138.)
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: Usually between Ryder and Oz.
  • Suicide by Cop: The kidnapper in "A Voice in the Dark".
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: McCluskey for Marks in the second season -- both police detectives with similar personalities. She even learns his secret by the second episode she's in.
  • Take My Hand: In the first episode.
  • Techno Babble: Lampshaded and averted in "Desperate Hours" when Toby and Olivia start to speak in medical terminology during a surgery, but the man who kidnapped Toby makes them explain everything in layman's terms so they can't get one over on him.
  • Telepathy: Toby's power.
  • Truncated Theme Tune: For the second season, the full theme tune and credits sequence is reduced to a few notes and a title, and the main cast credits are shown over the next scene.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Happens to Marks in "One Way or Another".
  • We Have to Get the Bullet Out: Zig Zagged in "Desperate Hours," in which Toby and Oz get kidnapped and forced to help a man who was shot. The kidnapper makes Toby perform surgery to remove the bullet, which he believes is the only way to save the man's life, despite the fact that Toby is a paramedic. Toby gets them to call Olivia, an actual surgeon, who advises that the safest way to handle the bullet wound is just to stitch it up and leave the bullet in. Then Toby finds the bullet lodged against an artery; removing it could either be necessary to save him or make things fatally worse. They end up removing the bullet to find little damage in the artery, meaning he's in the clear. He then goes into cardiac arrest and dies anyway.


  1. Many Chinese take an English or American-style name to ease interaction with English speakers.
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