Constantine by David Goyer is NBC’s take on the superhero phenomenon that has overtaken our airwaves. Adapted from the long-time running DC/Vertigo comic Hellblazer, Constantine stars Matt Ryan as the titular character, a gruff, trench coat wearing, wise cracking demonologist/exorcist who commits himself to a mental institution because he’s wracked by guilt for conjuring a demon (Nergal) to kill a minor demon that possessed a nine-year-old girl, Astra, but in the process Nergal killed Astra condemning her to hell as well.
A stampede of roaches leads him to the first demonic encounter when a possessed painter warns him of a target, Liv Aberdine (True Blood’s Lucy Griffiths) from another demon.
Constantine manages to reach the Liv, just as she’s attacked by said demon. While investigating the crater the demon left, he’s visited by Manny the Angel (Lost’s Harold Perrineau) who tells him he’s there to watch over him and something big is coming from the demons.
Later, Liv finds out a demon that’s been chasing her killed her neighbor instead because Constantine had his oldest mate Chaz (Charles Halford) put a ward on her door. Constatine tells Liv he knew her father Jasper Winters and hands over her father’s pendant. After another attempt on her life by the possessed body of her former apartment-mate Liv confronts her mother about her father.
While showing her father’s heirloom, Liv sees the spirit of her dead grandmother combing her mother’s hair (creepy). When the spirit notices Liv she screams as blood pours out of her eyes and mouth (doubly creepy). Liv seeks out Constantine for explanation and he shows her that by holding the necklace she, like her father, can see souls trapped on parallel worlds. While driving away their car gets hit by a truck and as they’re escaping the demon uses a live wire to kill his friend Chaz.
Constantine tells Liv he promised her father he would look after her, and if the day ever came about he would give her access to his hideout. While at her father’s place, Constantine tells Liv she can scry demonic activity by holding her father’s pendant over a map.
Constantine also discovers the name of the demon hunting her is Furcifer, a demon that gets his strength from electricity and can manifest lightning and tempest. He comes up with a plan to get the Furcifer, but it requires using Liv as bait. Manny visits Constantine again asking about the demon hunting Liv. Constantine tells him it’s a demon from the inner circle and questions why he should help the Angels if they themselves damned him to hell (for what happened to Astra). Manny tells him that he wants to do this because he’s damned and when Constantine asks if there’s a way he can still save his soul Manny smiles and disappears. Constantine visits an old hacker friend Ritchie Simpson (Justify’s Jeremy Davies) who’s also haunted by the events at Newcastle where Astra was killed. Constantine blackmails Ritchie into helping him hack the city’s power grid.
Back at her father’s apartment Liv is freaked out by the image of her father on a mirror. Constantine comes in with Chaz, who says he’s alright but it’s complicated. Constantine says there’s a reason why Chaz is his oldest associate (apparently he’s immortal). Constantine and Liv bribe a night guard so they can go to the roof and lay a trap for Furcifer. While waiting on the rooftop, we get some exposition into Constantine past. His mother died while giving birth to him and his father never forgave him, abusing him and giving him the nickname of killer. Constantine proclaims he will find his mother’s soul in hell – that’s the reason he became a demonologist. Furcifer possesses the bribed guard confronts the duo. He manifests himself as how Constantine will look once he’s in hell. Constantine signals Ritchie, who causes a citywide blackout thus eliminating Furcifer’s power. While in the trap, Furcifer shows Constantine he has the soul of Astra and tells him he will release her if he’s released, but Liv is able to tell it’s not really Astra and is able to warn Constantine in time.
Constantine becomes pissed and exorcises both demons. While driving away Liv and Ritchie come across the place Liv scried earlier where a boy has been killed by a demon. Chaz finds Constantine at a bar and tells him Liv left for good, but not before she scried a map and left a bunch of places for Constantine to visit. Manny shows up and deduces that Constantine had Liv drive through the scene on purpose to scare her away from this life.
If the ending seems disjointed it’s because the producers decided at the last minute that they didn’t like the character of Liv (who was supposed to be Constantine’s sidekick) and wrote her out after one episode. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a budget to shoot a new pilot so they just edited the ending, which leads to the last scene in the episode: a woman in a room frantically drawing a picture of Constantine and surrounded by drawings of Constantine. I’m guessing she’s the new sidekick.