In 1781, Ichabod Crane, a soldier and spy in the Colonial Army, on a mission for General George Washington, kills the Headless Horseman, as the Horseman kills him. More than 230 years later, in the present-day, Ichabod rises from his grave, after the Headless Horseman (revealed to be Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse), is summoned back from his watery grave by an unknown party. The resurrection of the one causes the other to also come back to life as a result of their blood mixing shortly after Crane decapitated the Headless Horseman on the field of battle.
Lt. Abbie Mills begins investigating the Headless Horseman after he beheads Sheriff August Corbin, Mills' mentor and partner. Mills' investigation reveals the presence of two occult groups - one for good, the other evil - in Sleepy Hollow, both of which are concerned with the Four Horsemen and the associated apocalypse. The killing spree the Horseman embarks on causes Crane and Mills to team up, especially when they found out that they are destined to be the two witnesses, the only ones who can protect the world from the forces of Hell.
As Crane's worldview is from 18th century Colonial America, some friction can be expected between him and Abbie, and also between him and the people he must now work with. This is often a source of comic relief for the show, but also forces him to look at things differently and thus becomes a strength.
The series is set in real-life Sleepy Hollow, New York, although it portrays the town as much larger than it actually is.
Cast and characters
Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane. A former professor of history at Oxford University prior to the American Revolution, he came to America with the British before switching sides and becoming a spy for the Colonists. Having beheaded the Horseman in 1781, his blood mixed with the Horseman and Crane was brought back to life when the Horseman was resurrected. Despite his skeptical knowledge of the supernatural in life, he has been an invaluable resource following his resurrection due to his detailed knowledge of supernatural traditions.
Nicole Beharie as Lt. Grace Abigail "Abbie" Mills, life long resident of Sleepy Hollow. She was about to transfer to Quantico to train with the FBI, but after the death of her mentor she decides to stay and gradually comes to accept her role in the fight against the Horseman as the second Witness to the Apocalypse. Abbie is the driving force in the future of understanding the new Sleepy Hollow.
Orlando Jones as Captain Frank Irving. The chief of the Sleepy Hollow sheriff's department (yet affiliated with the New York State Police) while trusting, he is initially skeptical of Crane and Mills' assertions. He later discovers the truth when the three of them confront, battle, and trap the Horseman.
Katia Winter as Katrina Crane. Ichabod's wife and secret witch who cast the spell to bind Ichabod to the Horseman. She appears to him in dreams in the present, claiming that she is trapped in a place between worlds and can only be freed with the defeat of the Horseman. Crane and Abbie managed to free her, but soon after she was captured by the horseman.
Lyndie Greenwood as Jennifer "Jenny" Mills (recurring in season 1, regular from season 2). Abbie's younger sister who was confined in an institution for mental patients. They both witnessed the rise of the second Horseman when they were children. She briefly broke out of the institution, but has since returned after Abbie assured Jenny that she accepted what they had seen and would work to get her released legally. She eventually told Abbie that she was once possessed by a demon that told her to kill her sister and that she would purposely get herself arrested to protect her. She later takes part in helping to solve the mysteries surrounding the Horseman.
John Noble as Henry Parrish / Jeremy Crane / The Horseman of War (recurring in season 1, a regular for season 2). He is a Sin Eater who helped Crane break the curse connecting him with the Headless Horseman. Later, Parrish was revealed to be Katrina and Ichabod's son, Jeremy Crane, and the Second of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, War, bitter over how his parents' actions led to him being trapped in a coffin for two centuries in a state of living death until he was released by Moloch.
Richard Cetrone, Jeremy Owens, Craig Branham and Neil Jackson as the Headless Horseman/Abraham Van Brunt, a beheaded undead man later resurrected in the 21st Century Sleepy Hollow with Crane, where he was revealed to be the First of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Death. He was Crane's best friend until he found out that Katrina broke her betrothal with him because she was in love with Crane, after which he became the horseman so he could get revenge.
Nicholas Gonzalez as Detective Luke Morales, Mills' co-worker and ex-boyfriend, who's suspicious of Crane.
John Cho as Officer Andy Brooks, Mills' co-worker and friend. He was revealed to be affiliated with the coven that resurrected the Horseman, and, despite having his neck broken in the pilot for his failure, has since returned as an undead being to aid other spirits in their efforts to be reborn. While he is undead, he continues to help Abby solve the mysteries because he regrets all the horrible things he has done.
Clancy Brown as Sheriff August Corbin, Mills' mentor and father figure. He was decapitated by the Horseman during the Horseman's return. He was apparently aware of the secrets of Sleepy Hollow and collected extensive records. It was eventually revealed that he was also Jenny's mentor, although the sisters never knew that he knew both of them. He continues to appear before Mills even after death although it's unknown if he's a ghost or if he's a hallucination she has to deal with the madness she has found herself in. Either way, he continues to offer support and advice.
D. J. Mifflin as the demon Moloch, the main antagonist of the series, with the goal to bring forward the Apocalypse and raising of the Headless Horseman. He was the one who imprisoned Katrina in Purgatory, after Katrina's coven handed her over (as punishment for saving Ichabod).
The series has received generally favorable reviews from critics, scoring a 65 out of 100 on Metacritic. Verne Gay of Newsday commented that although there is "nothing scary here", the show is "fun enough". Robert Bianco of USA Today gave the show 3 out of 4 stars.Entertainment Weekly, which originally doubted the premise of the show, gave the show a B+ after seeing the first half of the first season, citing the Crane & Mills' chemistry and the show's surprisingly fun mythology.Time called Sleepy Hollow one of 2013's Ten Best new shows.
The series premiered on September 16, 2013 to 10 million viewers with 3.5 rating/9 share which was double the amount that Fox's The Mob Doctor brought in at the same time last year and marked the network's highest rated fall drama premiere since the 2006 police drama Standoff. In Australia the first episode had 597,000 viewers and in the United Kingdom the same episode had 527,000 viewers.
In the real Sleepy Hollow, New York, the local newspaper has regularly enumerated the many fanciful fictions told about the village, including its labyrinth of Revolutionary-era tunnels and a vast increase in population (from an actual 2010 census of 9,870 to roughly 144,000 reported in the show).