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When an author has a corpse-shaped hole in the story, and decides to fill it with a character the audience won't mourn.

You watch enough mystery shows or read enough mystery stories, and you notice a certain trend: Frequently, the homicide victim is an asshole.

For example, the victim will have been someone who enjoyed crushing people for the fun of it, or who ripped off at least a dozen people, and possibly more, or who was a criminal himself, etc.

The frequent impression left is that "the victim had it coming".

There are three possible reasons for having an Asshole Victim:

  1. It's not as depressing; given that, for these shows to work, Tonight Someone Dies is a given, an Asshole Victim brings up less of the "Tonight, someone will be killed for your entertainment" Fridge Logic.
  2. It's one of the only ways to have a Sympathetic Murderer. Writers may make the victim an asshole in this case either just to have a sympathetic murderer; or, if the show is a Courtroom Drama, to make it harder to convict the killer as the jury sympathizes.
  3. In a mystery show, it maximizes the possible suspects, as just about everyone involved would have a potential motive to kill this guy. Usually the line, "Well, I certainly hated X, but I didn't kill him" will be used repeatedly, and perhaps the extreme variation "Yeah, I wanted to kill X, but somebody beat me to it." In a few really extreme cases, suspects may even add "I'd kill X now if I could, but it's a moot point." In rare cases, a suspect admits that "I wished X was dead" before the victim actually died, and now therefore feels indirectly responsible for it.

Also shows up in Horror and Suspense films, for much the same reasons (Everyone Is a Suspect frequently gets replaced by a Clear My Name). However, it will generally not apply to victims of The Scourge of God, except sometimes when said scourge is a Poetic Serial Killer. Criminals in a Colliding Criminal Conspiracies generally are this.

At a minimum, they will have kicked the dog and may be well beyond the Moral Event Horizon, especially in less subtle productions. Pay Evil Unto Evil is when the perpetrator gets away with it because the Asshole Victim deserved it.

Sometimes the memorial services for these victims will be... interesting to watch. Occasionally the writers will get some comedy out of Never Speak Ill of the Dead, if everyone knows the victim was a jerk but no one wants to say so.

A similar concept unites this trope to the Final Girl. She survives because she's the only one without sin or character flaws, She doesn't drink, do drugs, have sex outside of wedlock. She's nice and polite. Everyone else in the movie has such a flaw, making it okay for the monster to kill them.

For dog kickers who kick an asshole (not necessarily fatally), it's Kick the Son of a Bitch. Can also be an invoked Take That Scrappy moment. See also Disposable Fiance, which is similar in several respects. When the victim was as asshole for things they did in the process of trying to survive, it's Death By Pragmatism.

In accordance with the "Just-world hypothesis," people may perceive any victim as an Asshole Victim just to keep their belief that people get what they deserve intact.

Naturally, this trope can lead to the Unfortunate Implication that it's okay to kill someone just because that someone is a Jerkass. For this reason, among others, No Real Life Examples, Please.

Not to be confused with people whose posteriors get violated.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Asshole Victim include:

Advertising Edit


Anime and Manga Edit

  • Occurs often in Death Note, although the victim is often only inferred to have been an asshole by virtue of having been in prison. In fact, that's part of the point - Light claims that he researches these people to make sure that they really 'deserve' to die before he offs them and that he spares the criminal if the person they committed the crime against was an asshole victim. How reliably he does this is questionable at best.
    • It's worth noting that in Chapter 2, L mentions that his first suspected victim, Kurou Otoharada's crime was the least serious (not including Shibutaku, who L has no reason to know about, since he isn't aware that the Death Note can kill by means other than heart attacks). Keep in mind that Otoharada is the guy who was holding a group of pre-schoolers at gunpoint at the moment Light killed him.
    • On the other hand, he kills several law enforcement officers pursuing him, and also intends to kill people who don't contribute to society enough (although it's unclear what criteria he uses or what his standards are).
    • This trope is played absolutely straight at least once, without any debate in universe. When Mikami offs Demigawa, even the Kira Task Force didn't hold it against Kira, even mentioning that if anyone deserved getting killed off by Kira, it was him.
  • Detective Conan makes regular use of this trope. The vast majority of the victims end up being varying degrees of assholes (up to and including driving people to suicide or even having themselves gotten away with murder in the past.)
  • One of the most prominent aspects of the series Elfen Lied is the fact that while the Diclonius tend to have a murderously misanthropic view towards humans, said humans tend to be savagely cruel and inhuman. It's hard to feel sympathy towards some of the murder victims, when said victims just beat the dog to death in front of its kind but quiet owner, when it was the only thing that she loved in the world, force her to watch, and laugh at her. They act so surprised when she slaughters them. Then again, unless you were in on the conspiracy, the expectation that she could was probably reserved for people on hard drugs.
    • Some of the casual comments used by people outside the main cast abound with harshness. When Lucy is sobbing over Kouta's apparent betrayal, people in the carnival crowd dismiss her as being on drugs. When Mayu offers to take care of the puppy she found to the dog's owner, she is dismissed as being too filthy - something her actual appearance in the episodes introducing her didn't reflect.
  • Dr. Heinemann from Monster, as well of many of Johan's other victims.
  • Dallas Genoard from Baccano! is pretty much a Jerkass to end all Jerkasses, which is why not many people are angry at seeing Luck Gandor give him the Cement Shoes treatment.
    • On the contrary. Many would find it amusing.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Shou Tucker really had it coming when Scar killed him. The gold-toothed doctor also counts when Pride impales him because he's of no more use to the homunculi.
    • Likewise, in the 2003 anime version, Basque Grand is a nasty General Ripper involved with some of the conspiracies of the army. Thus, it's not exactly a tragedy when Scar gives him the usual treatment.
    • Frankly, from Scar's point of view, this is his entire modus operandi. He only kills State Alchemists, who were instrumental in the ethnic slaughter of his people. And even if a State Alchemist hadn't participated in that war, like Edward, a State Alchemist's role as a 'living weapon' means it's only a matter of time until they're ordered to do something equally heinous (and Edward is). Far as Scar is concerned, every State Alchemist has it coming.
  • This is a staple for the mysteries in The Kindaichi Case Files. None of the murderers ever kill randomly out of pure insanity or for money. Instead, it inevitably turns out that the murderer was getting revenge for the loss/harming of a lover, family member, friends, or someone very dear who the murder victim royally screwed over in the worst possible way.
    • A rare exception: in one case, two victims who were thought to be assholes turn out to be okay people.
  • Almost all of the people sent to Hell by those seeking revenge in Hell Girl were getting what they deserved. Apparently.
  • Taken Up to Eleven with the second victim in Bio Meat, an old woman. When we first see her, she's mocking and ridiculing the lead character's mother for daring to not have a husband. (It's implied very shortly after that she was previously married and her husband died, or at least ran out on her) Next, we see her berating a neighbor for roof tiles falling into her yard during an earthquake -- then further insulting them for daring to suggest they could clean up the tiles to make it up to her. Next, when she first sees a Bio Meat, she mistakes it for a pig, and calls Animal Control... and when they turn out to be taking too long, she decides to try to stab it to death with a broom handle for no reason. She gets picked off shortly thereafter, but she's still not done being an asshole, as she had decided to attack it in front of a little girl, who gets so traumatized by witnessing what happens to the woman that all she can do when the Animal Control officers finally arrive is repeat the Madness Mantra "Little piggy dragged off the big lady..."
    • Bio Meat even includes Name Tropers, listed in the credits as "Asshole Victims" in the fifth volume. This is a group of the main characters' fellow middle school students who are saved from being eaten when Bio Meats swarm the school by the quick thinking and leadership skills of one main character, and then given an avenue of escape and communication with the outside world by the inventiveness of another, though said escape route has to be used sparingly and carefully lest the Bio Meats use it to invade the safe room. Just as the last of the main characters leaves through the escape route to bring back help, the "Asshole Victims:"
      • Cut the only rope that allows them to enter and leave the safe room, for literally no other reason than to amuse themselves by watching the last of the main characters plummet loudly to the ground and alert the nearby Bio Meats to his presence.
      • Sneeringly (and loudly) voice disappointment when the last main character escapes being eaten due to a previously unnoticed weakness in the Bio Meats.
      • Make a "You're Not The Boss Of Me" speech as the escaped main characters are yelling for them to close the entrance to the safe room because all the insults the "Asshole Victims" have been yelling have alerted the Bio Meats, which are now rushing toward the entrance.
      • Continue ignoring the Bio Meats even as they're climbing into the no-longer-safe room, just to yell a few more accusations at the main characters of being responsible for their deaths by creating the escape route that they misused.
  • Bellamy in One Piece. After he mocked Luffy's dreams and stole an old man's gold, you frankly could not feel any sympathy for him when Doflamingo made Bellamy's own first mate off him.
    • Or when Doflamingo passes off ownership of the "human shop" to Disco after Luffy punches out a Celestial Dragon, or when Doflamingo later apparently kills Moria on orders of the World Government for not being strong enough to continue as one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea.
    • Spandam repeatedly kicked a down and broken Robin who was handcuffed and mentally tortured just for laughs. When she breaks his spine in half you feel as if he is getting off easy. If anything he is the poster boy of this trope.
      • He blamed his group of assassins that he led for everything that happened to the navy in the arc,, and then those assassins are implied to be coming after him.
    • Admiral Akainu ordering an entire ship of refugees destroyed just because a scholar might be on it is unforgivably evil. However, the civilians of Ohara often acted as All of the Other Reindeer to Robin because of her Devil Fruit powers, making them considerably less sympathetic than Clover, Olvia and the rest of the scholars.
  • Shinji of Fate Stay Night was already defeated, so it wasn't entirely justified when he was minced (off-screen) by Berserker. He did, however, just attempt to kill off an entire school's worth of people, and laughed when one of them managed to beg for help. If you've read Heaven's Feel, you know that there really isn't anything he doesn't deserve. And in Heaven's feel, it kind of bites him in the ass.
  • Makoto of School Days. He's murdered by the girl he impregnated and abandoned, and she might count, depending on your interpretation, when her killing Makoto causes his girlfriend to break completely and kill her.
  • Paragus qualifies as an Asshole Victim in the ending of Dragonball Z movie 8 when his son Broly offs him when the latter attempted to escape from the planet. First off, after planting a Slave Crown on Broly's head to control his actions, he ended up using Broly to destroy far more planets than Broly was willing to destroy (and considering the fact that Broly was so Mind Raped from his near-death experiences as a baby as well as driven insane from Goku's crying to the point that he becomes Ax Crazy enough to try blowing up planets as a kid, that's saying a lot), namely to lure Vegeta, the son of the guy who nearly had Broly and himself executed (and in a way contributing to Broly's insanity) over to be killed by a comet, and then enslaved an alien race that fell victim to Broly and Paragus's actions, and later attempts to abandon Broly to the planet [which, btw, was in the direct trajectory path of said comet].
    • In one of its sequels, Bio-Broly, Maloja, the shaman and village idiot, has people sacrificed once a year to appease a monster attacking them. When Goten and Trunks kill the monster he is kicked out so he attempts revenge by bringing Broly's blood to Jaguar, thus resulting in an equally powerful clone of Broly. Jaguar and his cousin Men-Men are saved from the resulting destruction, but Maloja isn't as lucky when the acidic culture fluid enters his room and he speaks his last incantation.
    • The genocide of the Saiyans of Planet Vegeta. In the long run, Frieza may have done the universe a favor rectifying his Gone Horribly Right use of the Saiyans.
    • In the anime, the two gunmen whom Evil Buu/Super Buu kills certainly qualify. They kill numerous people for no reason other than that the world is being destroyed, so they might as well. They shoot Hercule and anger Fat Buu into creating another entity who becomes the new antagonist. The second gunman in particular gets perhaps the most brutal death in the series.
      • Speaking of Buu, keep in mind that any character on Earth you can think of not specified to have died already or to be somewhere else is killed either by his Human Extinction Attack or by blowing up the earth. Goten and Trunks' first opponents in the junior division, Master Shu, Emperor Pilaf, Vodka the gangster, the Red Shark Gang, Mr. Musuka the circus man who kidnapped Chobi. Not to mention Mercenary Tao Pai Pai and Captain Ginyu. Granted most of them may not have been considered "evil" enough to remain dead when Dende wishes everyone back except the evil ones.
  • Those two misogynists on the train in episode 8 of Madoka Magica, who believe that women should be abused as a means of being kept in line. Even as she's becoming a witch, Sayaka is fighting for justice.
  • Chaka from Black Lagoon. His death was horrible, but he was a complete and utter bastard who deserved every second.
  • Tarukane and Butajiri from Yu Yu Hakusho. Both of them are killed by Toguro; the former for no longer being useful to Sakyo or the Black Book Club, and the latter for trying to rig the tournament through bribery, which comes off as an Even Evil Has Standards moment for Sakyo. The rest of the Black Book Club also counts, as their deaths mean the Dark Tournament will never be held again.
  • The Bandits killed by Inuyasha in the episode 51 of Inuyasha.
  • In the Ace Attorney manga, Robin Wolfe. He essentially drove Eddie Johnson to suicide by restraining him in a chair in a room full of spiders, presumably knowing that he was arachnophobic. This was presumably because Eddie was disrespectful at work, but it may have been motivated merely because he didn't approve of Eddie dating his daughter Lira. Afterward, he laughed about it while telling his wife what he had done, and claimed that Eddie was "weak" for committing suicide. As a result, his wife and daughter hate him, and he also hates his reclusive spider fanatic brother Bobby, thinking of him as an eyesore, keeping him restrained and denying his existence while guests are visiting. As a result, Brock comes off as a Sympathetic Murderer.
  • The first people we see Gaara kill in Naruto are a team of older genin from Amegakure whose leader is an arrogant bastard who tries his best to kill Gaara unprovoked. It's kind of satisfying seeing his Oh Crap moment. Of course, the next two victims are his teammates who were begging for mercy at the time, and immediately afterwards we see him right on the edge of killing team 8 as well, so it's immediately clear that Gaara is not a nice person.
    • Gaara's dad, the Fourth Kazekage, who basically had his wife die so he could try to harness Shukaku then shunned and tried to (unsuccessfully, of course) kill his son Gaara. You know Orochimaru doesn't have any kindness in his heart, but it's not like you lament that he killed the Kazekage.
  • Michio Yuki from MW has killed off the people who were part of the cover-up of the titular chemical warfare including his boss at the bank he worked at.
  • Cross Ange: Embryo, the series' Big Bad, responsible for the genocide of the Ancient Humans, as well for his numerous advances to make Ange his wife, has his fate sealed by the very same woman he attempted to control. Slicing him in half by Tusk and his Ragna-Mail simultaneously being reduced to smithereens before Ange scores the final kill is very satisfying to watch.
  • Jo Jo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • In Part 4, Angelo Katagiri gets put into a Fate Worse Than Death by Josuke by trapping him into a pile of rock before molding him into a statue, much to the despair of no one. Angelo is a petty bastard and a sadistic sociopath to a fault, so Josuke made an example out of him for killing his grandfather.
    • The same applies to Yoshikage Kira, him getting Dragged Off to Hell  in the end was a form of poetic justice.

Comic Books Edit

  • The Comedian in Watchmen (comics) is perhaps the ultimate Asshole Victim, although that had nothing to do with the (primary) motivation behind his murder. By the end, we feel some sympathy for him. But he's still an asshole.
    • Moloch, too. Though he hadn't been an asshole in years.
    • And then there's Gerald Grice. The plot needed to show Rorschach violently murdering someone, to establish the full onset of his insanity. Grice being a murderer himself make the story a very solid Black and Grey Morality type.
    • By the time we get to Big Figure and his cronies, we expect people who get killed to be assholes. Then the Squid comes and kills every innocent, likeable person in the comic within a few panels.
  • The Punisher usually goes after some rather nasty people. The only reason he's not a Complete Monster is that the people he kills tend to be even worse.
    • At least one (if not two) exception was the Punisher being unwillingly wacked out of his skull on drugs.
  • Most people who get beat up by The Hulk usually have it coming.
  • In the Shadowlands comic series Daredevil completely loses his shit and murders Bullseye after dislocating his arms. This was supposed to show that Daredevil was descending into darkness, but it backfired as most people wanted Daredevil to actually kill the man who blew up a block in Hell's Kitchen and gloated over it.
  • In Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, most of Johnny's victims are this. Or are implied to be people like this. Or hung out with people like this. Or stood too close to people like this (i.e. around two kilometers). Come to think of it, Johnny doesn't really discriminate once he's gotten going, but it takes a soon-to-be Asshole Victim to trigger his homicidal rampages... Mostly. Most of the people he takes back to his Torture Cellar (who will be dead pretty soon) are prime examples however. Or at least implied to be.
  • From Dark Times, Dezono Qua.
  • Tommy Monaghan, the titular protagonist of Hitman, only takes contracts out on those he considers to be "bad" people.
  • In the backstory of Kingdom Come, Magog kills the Joker while he's in police custody. Of course, this is The Joker we're talking about here, and he was arrested because he went on a rampage in the Daily Planet offices and killed 75 people -- including Lois Lane. When Superman protests, the public sides with Magog for this very reason.
  • From Fairy Tail: The slavers who forced thousands of captives to build the Tower Of Heaven definitely count. They employed even children (among which, Jellal and Erza) to do this work, starving them almost to death, punishing and killing them over the most insignificant slight; and they weren't above some Cold-Blooded Torture as well - it was because of a particularly brutal beating from them that Erza lost one of her eyes. Killing them all was obviously Jellal's making as a villain, but they deserved it.


Fairy Tales Edit

  • Most villains in fairy tales are jerkasses. However, Esben and the Witch deserves special mention for having four asshole victims, one of whom is the hero!
    • Sir Red is mentioned as being smug and disliked by everyone but the king.
    • The witch tries to kill Esben's brothers once, and tries to eat Esben.
    • Esben's brothers ridicule and taunt Esben and refuse to acknowledge his help.
    • Esben causes the witch to kill eleven of her daughters, steals the witch's magic items then kills the other two daughters.


Fan Works Edit

  • Eleven-year-old Zacharias Smith in the Harry Potter fanfic The Best Revenge. Notable in that his killer, the horcrux in Tom Riddle's diary, gets off scot-free in a fic that otherwise has a far lower body count than canon.
  • In the Babylon 5 fanfic The Dilgar War has warmaster Len'char, whose actions and political meddling make Jha'dur (whose body count of innocent is so high she's called Deathwalker) make sympathetic, especially as Jha'dur did what she did to save her people and just couldn't see a pacifistic solution while Len'char put such survival at serious risk. When Jha'dur finally crossed the Moral Event Horizon, her promise to not kill him no matter how much he begged for it is quite satisfying.
  • Ace Swift in Turnabout Storm. A pegasus athlete that had rumors about him saying that he reached his victories by less-than-honest methods, which turn out to be true. He blackmailed every opponent that had a chance of beating him into dropping out of the race so he could keep both his victory streak untouched and the money from the numerous bets on his favor.
  • The Rango fanfic, Old West has two examples:
    • Amos, the previous sheriff of Dirt, was killed when Rattlesnake Jake injected venom into him, making him die slowly. Amos doesn't get much sympathy for this because before his death, he openly showed contempt toward Jake's abused mother and killed her while she was dying due to one of her husband's domestic beatings while having the gall to say it was merciful.
    • Jake kills Benjamin Hares much the same way he killed Amos following Benjamin's acts of trying to sell the lands of his estranged wife Grace and battering her when she confronted him.
  • Metroid: Kamen Rider Generations Vol. 2 - Ex-Aid Era feat. Cross Ange:

Films -- Live-Action Edit

  • Terminator
    • In the first film, the Terminator's very first victim pulled a knife on him, swore at him, and generally made us feel not too sorry for him. Two of the Terminator's later victims, Matt and Ginger, were arguably more sympathetic, but his making an obscene phone call and her casual promiscuity against the backdrop of the movie's subtle condemnation of the proud and parasitic modern society that produced them suggests that they're Too Dumb to Live.
    • Terminator 2: Judgment Day
      • The asylum attendant licks Sarah's face while she's helpless. After she escapes she gives him a brutal beating.
      • Todd and Janelle, John's foster parents, are portrayed as uncaring and unpleasant, respectively. When T-1000!Janelle speaks in a friendly manner to John Conner on the phone, he says "She's never this nice". The T-1000 kills both of them.
  • All of Travis Bickle's victims in Taxi Driver. Despite being something of a psychopath, he is sympathetic compared to them.
  • It's not a murder-mystery, but Steve in the remake of Dawn of the Dead 2004 more than qualifies. When he finally gets zombified and then shot in the head you're likely to cheer, same goes for CJ.
  • Most, if not, all of the victims meant to die in the accidents in the Final Destination series. But especially, The Racist in the fourth film.
  • Pretty much everyone in Hostel spends most of the movie doing everything they can to make you hate them, even after they know their friends are being kidnapped and killed.
  • In Shaun of the Dead, David is torn apart and eaten by zombies after saying "I think we can all agree, that was the right thing to do," after Shaun had to kill his own mother. Not to mention the fact that he'd been an asshole most of the movie, and at one point, even tried to shoot Shaun.
    • Apparently this trope was taken into consideration when doing that scene. Originally they had him apologize for his behavior before suffering his fate, but they decided to edit that out to keep him a strict asshole in the eyes of the audience. It worked, since when his scene came up, the audience cheered.
    • Like most of the movie, this is probably in reference to Night of the Living Dead and in particular the dynamic between Ben and Harry; like Harry, David is right about a lot of the things that they should be doing, but that doesn't stop him from being an asshole.
  • Sorority Row probably has a record for the number of deliberately unsympathetic victims; out of all the people killed maybe one or two qualify for Jerk with a Heart of Gold status. The killer actually Lampshades how horrible the murdered characters all were.
  • Mr. Dietrichson in Double Indemnity, for the sake of making Neff a Sympathetic Murderer.
  • In Scanners 2, the main character kills a pair of store-robbing thugs who already killed two clerks and were either about to do the same to his girlfriend, or kidnap her/hold her hostage.
  • The black comedy Drowning Mona. Bette Milder played Mona, a woman so universally despised that when she was killed, no one cared about her death (beyond wondering who had finally done the deed) and only her son and husband showed up at her funeral (and even they weren't too broken up about it). This made the jobs of the investigators much more difficult, because practically EVERYONE in town had a reason for wanting to kill Mona, making everyone a suspect.
  • The mission director in Gattaca was ... not universally liked, making the movie an example of reason number three.
  • Any villain or villainess that fell victim to the Toxic Avenger.
  • Gosford Park. Though the victim as we see him is portrayed relatively sympathetically, seeming to be a fairly nice old duffer with a horrible harpy of a wife (she tears chunks out of him at dinner in front of all their friends), his past is not so clear and when he is murdered it turns out everyone had a motive. Though in fact all the people with real, personal motives are ignored as they are only the servants.
  • Happens in Hellraiser Hellseeker, where it's revealed Kirsty killed her sleazy husband Trevor, who had planned on murdering her for her money; Trevor's best friend, who was in on the plan; and three women Trevor actually videotaped himself cheating on Kirsty with (the women were all also in relationships).
  • In Se7en, John Doe thinks he's doing this, though less than half of the victims including John Doe himself really qualify as assholes.
  • The titular character in El Esqueleto de la Sra. Morales (Skeleton of Mrs. Morales) suffers a severe case of assholism. To wit: Exploiting a malformation of hers for sympathy, feigning to ba a victim of domestic violence, attempting to poison her husband's pet owl and breaking his newly bought camera.
  • Men in Black. Just before he is killed by the Bug, Edgar is revealed to be a spousal emotional abuser (and possibly a physical abuser too).

 Edgar: I go out, I work my butt off for a living, all I want is to come home to a nice clean house with a nice fat steak on the table, but instead I get this. It looks like poison. Don't you take that away, I'm eating that, damn it! It IS poison, isn't it? I swear to God I would not be surprised if it was, the way you skulk around here like a dog that's been hit too much or ain't been hit enough, I can't make up my mind. You're useless, Beatrice. The only thing that pulls its weight around here is my goddamn truck!

(Spaceship crashes into the truck; Edgar proceeds to walk out to investigate)

Edgar: ...Figures.

(Edgar walks to the crash site)

Beatrice: What the heck is it, Edgar?

(Edgar turns around quickly)

Edgar: Get your big butt back in that house!

    • Similarly, after Serleena assumes human form in the sequel, she is attacked by a man with a knife and swallows him whole, then proceeds to spit him out and steal his clothes when she realizes that she gained an immense gut as a result of eating him.
  • Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger) uses this justification in True Lies:

 Helen Tasker: Have you ever killed anyone?

Harry: Yeah, but they were all bad.

    • Given that he's under the influence of Truth Serum at the time, he must really believe it. And given that he fights terrorists and trigger-happy enemy agents, it sure seems like it could be true.
  • Dr. David Drumlin deserved to get it in the neck for EVERYTHING he does to screw over Ellie Arroway in Contact.
  • This is the premise of Boondock Saints. They kill gangsters who couldn't be touched by the police.
  • Eye for An Eye is about a mother who hears her daughter raped and murdered by a grocery deliverer while talking to her on the cell phone, who gets off on a technicality, and decides to kill him.
  • Hood of Horror the whole film revolves around making people pay for their crimes against man by grotesque brutal death and then hell.
  • Creepshow, being the Troperiffic delight that it is, has lots of fun with this. We've got Nathan (emotionally abusive, murderous father), Bedelia (his insane, drunk-driving, parricidal daughter), Richard (psychotic, murderous Leslie Nielsen), Billie (emotionally abusive, nagging Adrienne Barbeau), and Upson Pratt (Complete Monster Corrupt Corporate Executive). In the final scene of the Framing Story, the boy who was reading the comic is torturing his abusive, hypocritical dad with a voodoo doll.
  • In the Saw saga it's rare to not find asshole victims, but Danica from III, Xavier from II, Dave from VI and Ivan from IV stand out.
    • There's also the group of racist skinheads from the final movie that are killed for abusing others.
  • In the second Jurassic Park movie, Peter Stormare's character (Dieter) Kicks The Compsognathus. Then a mob of them eat him.
    • And then there's Smug Snake Peter Ludlow also from the second movie who has the bright idea to travel to the island they bred the dinosaurs on and go on a safari so they can bring them back to the mainland and proceeds to have absolutely no common sense while doing it. This little decision manages to part a significant part in just about ALL the deaths in the movie, including his own.
    • And then there's the smarmy self-serving lawyer from the first film, sent to investigate the safety of the park, he very quickly forgets his "investigation" once the images of dollar signs start dancing around in his head. And when it all goes inevitably boobs up, he abandons the children to a grisly death to save his own skin. So you'll find very few sympathizers in the audience when his bold ploy of hiding and cowering in the toilet fails.
      • To quote Weird Al's "Jurassic Park": "A huge tyrannosaurus ate our lawyer/well, I suppose that proves/they're really not all bad".
    • Heck, Nedry, who drives the whole plot of the first movie, is about as unappealing a character as he could possibly be without doing intentional murder. And Wayne Knight plays all his slovenly abrasiveness with Newman-esque glee. There was some audible audience approval when he met his toothy comeuppance, believe you me!
      • With a "Spitter", no less!
  • Micah from Paranormal Activity.
  • Doc and Mitchy from Terror Train.
  • Most of the victims in Madhouse -- a proto-slasher movie set in a BBC studio -- don't really deserve to die. However, it's hard to feel sorry for the actress who plays Vincent Price's assistant, or for his insane stalker, or for her completely insane parents.

 As they say in horror movies, you will come to a bad end.

  • Scotty, in The Evil Dead. As well as the two rednecks in Evil Dead II.
  • In 2008's The Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner is harassed by some greasy co-workers because he stopped them from sexually harassing a female co-worker. When he's on the run from Blonsky and General Ross he's cornered by them and beaten up a bit. What ensues may be the most satisfying moment in a Marvel movie: he Hulks out and throws them through walls to their death.
  • Dead Silence. As soon as he first appears, we all know that Det. Jim Lipton will get what's coming to him by the end.
  • The Ring: Thanks for killing Dr. Emma Temple, Samara.
  • In Dogville, the viewer actually feels relieved when mobsters kill the whole goddamn population of the titular town, including the children. They're just that awful.
  • Bullies in Slasher High. Jeesh, they deserved to be drowned in the toilet.
  • Bullies in Frankenstein Created Woman. I was excitedly rooting for Christina and Hans to finish them all. Kill, baby, kill!
  • The death of Mrs. Carmody in The Mist is probably the only joyous moment in the entire film. Also everyone in the supermarket could possibly count, if they also eventually succumb to the mist creatures. Which you hope they do.
    • This troper remembers watching this movie on an online live stream, and the entire chat with about fifty people cheered in unison in the scene where she died. It was glorious.
  • Harlan, from Thelma and Louise, tries to rape Thelma but is thwarted by Louise. This doesn't get him killed right away as Louise tells him to be more considerate of women "in the future." What gets him killed is his insistence at being a Jerkass...

 Harlan: Bitch! I shoulda gone ahead and fucked her!

Louise: What did you say?

Harlan: I said suck my cock!

Louise's Gun: BANG!

    • Followed later by the police investigation: (NOTE: paraphrased from memory. Could someone clean this up with the actual quotes?)

 Policeman: Who do you think did it?

Cocktail waitress: Me? I'd say some old gal, some old gal's husband. Has anyone asked his wife, she's the one I hope did it.

  • In Serenity, The Operative's first kill in the movie was a scientist who vivisected and abused children to turn them into human weapons.
  • In Little Shop of Horrors, Audrey II's first victim is the dentist Orin Scrivello, who is sadistic to his patients and abusive to his girlfriend Audrey.
  • Judging by the trailer, it would seem that the upcoming parody Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil takes the slasher movie approach to this trope to it's logical extreme; the 'psycho degenerate hillbillies' are actually a pair of well-meaning but not incredibly bright guys who, through various misunderstandings, are taken to be that way by a bunch of prejudiced, elitist college kids. Very gory hilarity ensues as the kids, much to the confusion and bewilderment of the two, end up accidentally killing themselves while trying to attack the 'evil killers'.
  • Both used and subverted in the film Heathers -- most of the victims are (or seem to be) Asshole Victims but then through the heroine's eyes we see how their deaths affect their loved ones, and see her realize that being an asshole isn't worth killing someone over.
  • The Trouble with Harry is an early example. Everyone thinks they are responsible for his death, but they don't really care.
  • In V for Vendetta, every named antagonist qualifies as this, with the sole exception of Dr. Delia Surridge. It's no coincidence, then, that out of all the named antagonists, Dr. Surridge is the only one granted a quiet, painless death.
    • Mainly because she's a remorseful Death Seeker who seems to anticipate that Death Equals Redemption. If her journals can be believed, she hated (or convinced herself to hate) the people she experimented on. V managed to form a connection with her, which brought her to confront her actions and apologize to her only living victim.
  • The 2006 remake of The Wicker Man featured a hysterically funny unintentional example. Oh no! Not the bees!
  • Played for Laughs in a scene in horror movie parody Scary Movie. One of the teenagers being stalked by the masked killer is watching a movie in a crowded theater; she's being loud and obnoxious, ruining the movie for everyone else. The masked killer is then shown to be sitting in the seat next to her... but before he gets the chance, one of the other movigoers steals his knife and stabs her. He then just sits and drinks his soda while all the other audience members continue to stab her to death. When she stumbles in front of the screen and finally falls dead, they applaud.
  • The victim in Murder on the Orient Express. It turns out that he was everybody's victim. In case you didn't know that already.
  • The Cult members in Silent Hill. Very hard to feel sorry for them after you learn they tried to kill Alessa years before by burning her alive, leaving her horribly disfigured and unable to get out of her hospital bed. Also they had just killed Cybil this way.
  • The female lead character in Catherine Breillat's Romance blows up her boyfriend in a rigged gas explosion at the end. The murder is about the only happy event in the film...
  • The murder victim in the movie Bully, which is based on a real homicide of a teen who bullied and abused his best friend, his best friend's girlfriend and all of his associates.
  • Buck and his customer in Kill Bill
    • Budd, during a moment of contemplation states that all the members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad are this.

  "That woman deserves her revenge, and we deserve to die. Then again, so does she."

  • A somewhat failed example of this trope happened in the Vault Of Horror movie. A woman was driven to killing her husband by his OCD need to keep the house neat. However, the actor never really went over the top, and came across more as lecturing than yelling and screaming, to the point where you felt more like they needed to sit down and have a long talk, rather than him deserving to die.
  • None of the humans in Predators are particularly nice, but Stans, a condemned murderer takes the cake for being the most unsympathetic. Even so, he gets a pretty badass sendoff.
    • Dale, Nick, and Mark in AVPR aren't very nice either. Dale, as the leader of the trio, gets the most vicious of the three, the alien's blood burning his face.
  • Every single character in the horror movie Marcus (2006) except Brooke(who's not an asshole) and Marcus(who's not a victim).
  • In Dogma, Loki visits a boardroom of Corrupt Corporate Executives, lists their individual sins (idolatry, adultery, statutory rape, intolerance, etc.), then kills them.
    • He did spare the only one who didn't have any sins.
  • This was the reason that nobody found any sympathy for the documentary crew in Cannibal Holocaust. One of their crimes involved burning down a village for no reason other than to shoot a scene. One critic actually noted "The film crew more than deserved their deaths."
  • The first victim of Bubba Ho-Tep is an old woman who steals another nursing home resident's packages from home and swipes the glasses off a woman in an iron lung... while said woman is awake. On the commentary, Don Coscarelli discusses this trope.
  • The guy in Snakes on a Plane who's a Jerkass that feeds a woman's dog to a snake.
  • Everyone who is killed in The Little Girl Who Lived Down the Lane. Except Gordon.
  • A recent updated version of the Oliver Twist story called "Twist" featured the character of Dodger finally snapping, and shooting Bill. By that point in the movie, Bill had either seriously injured or murdered about three-quarters of the cast. In short, he really had it coming.
  • Patrick and Belch in Stephen King's IT.
  • In Bride of Chucky, the fourth Childs Play film, most of Chucky and Tiffany's victims fit this trope. Needle Nose Norton gets paid extra money to follow Jesse and Jade (since Jade's uncle, Warren Kincaid, who is chief of police, hates Jesse and wants to keep him and Jade apart) under the pretense of suspecting them of drunk driving. Warren plants marijuana in Jesse's van to frame him for drug possession. And the couple who rob Jesse and Jade are killed by Tiffany with mirror shards.
  • Coach Schneider in A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2 Freddys Revenge. And this trope is rare in the Nightmare movies (except Freddy vs. Jason, which is part Friday the 13 th, which as listed above is the exact opposite and follows this trope all the time).
  • Tremors 3 has Agent Frank Statler, Agent Charlie Rusk, and Dr. Andrew Merliss, who make the killing of graboids illegal so they can study one and make money off them, thus knowingly risking the lives of innocent civilians. If you've watched Alien Resurrection and Friday the 13th (film), you'll know what happens to people who try to make money off the horror villain/s.
  • Pretty much everyone in Falling Down. Bill Foster may be a bit crazy, but compared to the rest of LA, he's an absolute saint.
  • John Strode and Barry Simms in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, and a quite number of people in the remakes.
  • Lockjaw's protagonists may have stepped over the boundary. The incident that triggers the plot is them running over someone. The major difference between these teens and the teens from I Know What You Did Last Summer? They never noticed they hit anyone and when pointed out that they did, they believe they hit an animal and moved on.
  • Leroy in Mystery Team.
  • Invoked Trope in Shoot Em Up, in which the hero deliberately singles out which car to steal because he'd seen its able-bodied driver park in a handicapped spot. No, he doesn't kill the guy, but he explicitly calls him a prick, establishing a similar justification for targeting his vehicle.
  • In Psycho Beach Party Rhonda spends her days being incredibly rude and insulting everybody so watching her die was rather satisfying.
  • Lampshaded in M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water. When a Straw Critic character runs into a monster, instead of running he starts a long monologue on this trope in which an "unlikeable" character flees the monster, shuts the door behind him at the last second, and learns a valuable lesson. He is then torn to death by the monster.
  • Mitchell Laurio in X2: X-Men United. He's a thug who's shown to enjoy beating up an old man stripped of any powers that would allow him to fight back, so no one minds too much when Mystique sets him up for a death allowing Magneto to escape.
  • Harry Prebblie in The Blue Gardenia tries to rape Norah, and is promptly killed just not by her.
  • Carter Burke in Aliens.
  • Strangers on a Train: Bye, Miriam. You won't be missed.
  • Very deliberately invoked in the 2008 nature horror film, "Grizzly Park". The 8 characters forced into community service in Grizzly Park as rehabilitation for their misdemeanors are deliberately set up to be as obnoxious, apathetic and unsympathetic as possible, each appearing to get a Karmic Death from the bear trying to kill them. In the end it's revealed the bear belonged to the park ranger who trained it to kill any members of the group. The ranger lets the last survivor live, believing she has made a Heel Realization and learned from her previous mistakes. Nope, he later overhears her (unaware that the ranger was part of the plot) calling her friend telling her she had manipulated him and planned to kill him later - prompting her to be mauled by the bear towards the end of the movie.
  • Discussed in Kill List. Jay is very insistent that all the people on the titular list are bad people that deserve their deaths. But while we see ample evidence of this for the librarian, we have to take his word for it on the others, raising the possibility that it's just him trying to rationalise the killings.
  • The Silence of the Lambs. Dr. Chilton, who was in charge of the facility where Hannibal Lecter was originally imprisoned. He sleazily hits on Clarice Starling and doesn't take it well when she declines him. Hannibal says that Chilton has harassed in the past and we have no reason to disbelieve him. He reveals the FBI's attempt to trick Hannibal into cooperating - not because he's offended by their dishonesty, but because he wants to cut his own deal and get publicity. At the end of the movie Lecter is seen trailing Chilton and it's made clear that he's going to kill him and eat him ("I'm having an old friend for dinner.").
  • The main character, Tony Montana from Scarface might as well be the ultimate kind of this trope. Although he gets a Redemption Equals Death moment when he refuses to blow up the journalist's car, along with said person's wife and children by killing Sosa's hitman. Tony also paid the price for said incident, however, when Sosa sent his men to attack him. His death wasn't played out in a Alas, Poor Villain moment either. By the end, we still retain some sympathy for him, but he is still an asshole from start to finish, including when he killed Gina's future husband, Manny Ribera, because of his over-protectiveness for said sister.
    • In general, most of the characters could qualify. It's hard to feel sorry for any of these people, since they are all assholes from start to finish, as evidenced by the constant swearing throughout the whole movie.


Literature Edit

  • Amnon and Absalom both fall under this heading. The former raped his half-brother Absalom's (half?) sister Tamar. Since his father David evidently felt his own philandering had undercut any authority he had to punish Amnon for this, Absalom eventually took matters into his own hands and had his men assassinate Amnon during a banquet. Drunk on his success, Absalom later rebelled against David, whose Token Evil Teammate Joab managed to catch Absalom at a vulnerable moment and kill him. As the final link in this chain of treachery and murder, David's heir Solomon, in accord with David's instructions on his deathbed, later put Joab to death at his earliest legal opportunity.
    • Many later kings qualified, including (but by no means limited to): Nadab, Elah, Zechariah, Shallum, Pekahiah, and Pekah of Israel; Joash and Amon of Judah; Sennacherib of Assyria; and Co-Regent Belshazzar of Bablyon.
      • Special mention should go to Jehoram of Judah, whom God struck down with some kind of intestinal plague (possibly cholera). As noted in Chronicles, his death was "...to no one's regret..."
  • Toyed with in Isaac Asimov's The Naked Sun, where the murder victim qualifies under reasons two and three. . . because he was the perfect embodiment of the planet's social code ("a good Solarian"), that is, an anti-social a-hole. Everyone had a motive to murder the man who reminded them all of their imperfections.
  • Another story by Asimov features a famous researcher die in a lab explosion, and foul play is suspected. The problem is, it turns out this "researcher" never did anything except stealing the ideas and results of others, so not only did everyone have a motive, everyone was openly discussing the best way to kill him.
  • Bob Sheldon in The Outsiders, who is knifed to death while trying to drown the main character in a fountain.
  • An interesting variant occurs in a 1980s science fiction short story Press Enter about a hacker who'd been secretly running the world from his computer; although nobody that knew him had any reason to hate him enough to kill him while he was still alive, his posthumous release of all the embarrassing information he'd gathered on the people around him over the years had one police officer remarking that all the townspeople sure wished they could kill him now.
  • Scottish police detective Hamish Macbeth, in the mystery novels by M.C. Beaton, often finds himself investigating crimes in which the victim is someone who many people were glad to see go away. It's even right there in the titles -- Death of a Snob, Death of an Outsider, Death of a Poison Pen, etc.
  • Agatha Christie liked to do this as well.
    • Ratchett in Murder on the Orient Express is worth mentioning in particular, being doubly an Asshole Victim. He's portrayed as a total jackass from the minute he steps on board, so we don't feel too guilty when he's splattered across a Pullman carriage for our entertainment. As we learn more about him after the murder, it becomes even clearer just how deserving he was of his fate. Poirot eventually lets his murderers go.
    • And Then There Were None has ten Asshole Victims who each committed a crime, though some of them are portrayed with a degree of sympathy. The murders were committed in order of "guilt", from least to most.
      • Anthony Marston, the first to die, was a reckless driver who ran over a couple of children, and was only upset about the incident because it resulted in the loss of his driver's license. He was completely self-centered, and showed no remorse or sympathy for his victims. The killer felt that the reckless driver was simply born sociopathic and self-absorbed, and couldn't help not feeling guilty.
      • Many of the other characters, on the other hand, do indeed regret their misdeeds. Interestingly, some of the later killings use the exact opposite logic. For example, the surgeon was drunk, so the deaths he caused under the influence weren't intentional or premeditated, and thus considered not as worthy of retribution as say, the nanny who let the child in her charge drown so that her lover would receive the lion's share of an inheritance.
    • Mrs. Boynton in Appointment with Death. After she spends the first part of the book psychologically torturing her family, one could be forgiven for cheering when a public-spirited individual does away with the old crone. Except that the actual killer was more private-spirited in their reasons--they were afraid Boynton would expose their criminal past.
    • Mr. Shaitana in Cards On the Table, who has a collection of successful murderers -- the ones he knows got away with it -- and invites them to a party calculated to make them squirm. Christie plays with this one, as Poirot immediately points out that this is not a safe hobby. Much of the book is spent trying to find out what murders the suspects previously committed.
      • As a further sign of Shaitana's arrogance, very late in the book, it is revealed that one of the so-called "murderers" was actually innocent of his original crime, and thus did not deserve to be put through Shaitana's mind game in the first place.
    • Simeon Lee in Hercule Poirot's Christmas is an selfish old millionaire, who plays sadistic mind games with his family. Here, however, the murder was actually personal revenge.
    • The sadistic Lord Edgware in Lord Edgware Dies. However, as in Appointment with Death, the murder was committed for selfish motives.
    • Colonel Protheroe of The Murder at the Vicarage is the most despised man in the village; even the local vicar says that killing him would be a service to the community. However, yet again, the murder turns out to have been committed for purely selfish motives.
    • Subversion in Five Little Pigs: several characters sided with Caroline Crale when she was convicted of murdering her husband Amyas, a painter having an affair with his model. However, Poirot realises that Amyas was never going to leave Caroline and only kept Elsa around to finish the painting. Elsa killed him and framed Caroline when she learned that he had always intended to stay with his wife.
    • Joyce Reynolds in Halloween Party manages to be a prepubescent version of this trope, being regarded by most of the adults and children around her as a lying Attention Whore and not incredibly well liked as a result. Of course, the fact that she's still a child means that it is not okay when someone bumps her off. Her brother Leopold is also one of these.
    • Some of the deceased in Death Comes as the End fall into this category, especially Nofret and Ipy.
    • Some readers might find the victim, Linnet, from Death On The Nile to be one of these. In the beginning of the book, she seems like quite a nice person until we find out that she's having a village knocked down and the people moved because they're blocking her view (though she is having new houses built for them at least). Then we find out that she stole her best friend's fiancee. She doesn't look quite so good after that.
      • Though somewhat subverted when we learn that the best friend and the fiance were both in on it. The movie, however, plays it straighter by giving almost other passenger a motive, even if Linnet hasn't brought all of them on herself.
    • Masterfully averted in Towards Zero, where the victim is a rather strict and old-fashioned, but very good-natured and kind old lady, liked all around. Her killing is very much intended as a Moral Event Horizon, though Christie was kind enough to make her terminally ill and actually wanting to die to alleviate reader's guilt. Bonus points for the police discussing the trope and aversion.
  • Sherlock Holmes dealt with a couple of these, making this Older Than Radio.
    • The most evil being Charles Augustus Milverton, who got rich by blackmailing people (only to ruin them anyway, for the fun of it). Holmes let the murderer go.

 Holmes: My sympathies in this case are with the criminal, not the victim.

    • Holmes seems to have a tendency to let murders of spousal abusers slide. In Victorian England, hitting women is not okay.
      • The titular character in Black Peter is a good example.
      • Another example is Sir Eustace Brackenstall, the victim in The Adventure of Abbey Grange. Brackenstall was a violent drunkard who did everythhing from repeatedly stab his wife Lady Brackenstall with a hatpin to douse her dog in oil and light it on fire. He eventually had his skull caved in by a sailor who'd fallen in love with Lady Brackenstall before she married her husband and had come to defend her from her husband's abuse. Holmes tracks down the sailor, and once he learns what really happened lets the sailor go.
      • Actually, Holmes was a pretty advanced guy in that way--"hitting women" wasn't okay back then, but disciplining your wife to keep her in line was just fine.
    • The two victims in A Study in Scarlet definitely qualify, being murderers themselves as well as rapists, misogynists, hedonists, and religious extremists who, in turn, abandoned said religion the second it became inconvenient for them. In this case the reader is definitely expected to side with the murderer.
      • By the way, that religion was Mormonism; at the time the books were written Mormon-bashing was in, so the religion itself was meant to be another black mark against them.
    • Although the murderer in The Boscombe Valley Mystery was by no means a particularly upstanding gentleman, this trope applies to the victim McCarthy, who was a blackmailer and a Manipulative Bastard who treated his own son like a pawn.
    • He, and his royal employers in The Illustrious Client, let the woman who threw vitriol (concentrated sulphuric acid) on Adelbert Gruner (who could be charitably described as a serial murder and rapist) off lightly.
  • About half the victims in Ben Elton's Past Mortem were unpleasant school bullies as children, and many of them retained their assholery later in life. Then there were the ones who were bullies to a degree but didn't deserve anywhere near what happened to them.
  • Frank Bennet, wife beater and child rapist, disappears in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, and no one really cares, not even the officer who investigates the cases and later becomes the judge who hears the case against Idgie and Big George.
  • In Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher stories:
    • Death by Water is made of this trope - nearly all of the victims of the jewel thefts aboard the S.S. Hinemoa have left victims in their wake (excepting the first woman), generally in financial trouble: the singer abandoned her young daughter to grow up in a slum, the vindictive Mr. West sacked a young man for hanging around Mrs. West, and so on.
      • Mr Singer kills Jack Mason's man, Thomas. We find out later that Thomas was on the Titanic as a steward- and many of the stewards blocked the passages on the ship so the First Class passengers could escape, while condemning everyone else to die.
    • Flying Too High: The elder Mr. McNaughton sexually abused his wife and daughter.
    • Murder in Montparnasse: Hector Chambers is the target of a ransom demand for his missing daughter - he's bad-tempered and sexist, and pulls a gun on Miss Fisher several times when she figures out something without being told (he assumes she's in on it).
      • Rene abused every woman he was with, killed two innocent men and generally defined 'bastard'.
    • Dead Man's Chest: Bridget, a housemaid, kills Mrs McNaster, her employer's mother-in-law- who works her companion to the bone and abuses her as much as she can. No one's upset.
    • Murder on the Ballarat Train: Mrs. Henderson was a terrible nag who constantly belittled her daughter. The murderer never expected the daughter to grieve for her mother, or to hire a private investigator to solve the murder.
  • In Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds, Li Kao needs to murder someone to carry out a plan, and he hopes to do it to someone who thoroughly deserves it. He finds one in the form of Fainting Maid, who committed a crime so despicable that her own father is glad to leave her to drown in a well.
  • Nearly everyone in Stephen King's Carrie save Sue Snell (who survives). The famous scene where Carrie kills everyone at the prom is supposed to be Deliberate Nightmare Fuel in the book and film, but the effect is nullified somewhat when you are cheering her on.
    • Carrie's date started out this way, but by the time the prom rolled around, he had actually grown to like her. Pity she never found that out...
    • In Bag Of Bones, primary antagonist Max Devore dies suddenly, an apparent suicide. His most direct victims celebrate his death. The rest of his town knows what really killed him and wonders which of them is next. Nobody mourns for his death, however.
    • King's Sherlock Holmes pastiche, "The Doctor's Case" (in Nightmares & Dreamscapes), features such a victim, physically abusive to his wife and mentally abusive to her and their three sons (all adults). Just to cap it off, the victim plans to leave his wife and sons penniless when he dies (death of natural causes is mere months away and he knows it) by leaving his fortune to a cat shelter. Holmes, Watson, and Lestrade collectively agree the deceased had it coming and basically drop the investigation.
  • Several of Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael mysteries start with the murder of someone we hate, and end with the heroes having to catch the killer before it's too late for someone we like.
    • In The Leper of St. Giles, a brutish and cruel nobleman is killed the day before he was to marry a much younger and not-entirely-willing lady. Curiously, but in typically compassionate Ellis Peters form, the mystery is solved with the help of someone who was the victim's friend and who saw him as a good man.
    • In Dead Man's Ransom, Gilbert Prestcote is severely wounded in battle and then murdered in his bed while recovering. In previous books he was set up as a hardline sheriff who was often too quick to judge, resulting in many races against time for Cadfael and Hugh Beringar to save an innocent person from punishment or keep a criminal from getting away.
      • While he judged quickly, he wasn't cruel and would always recant if shown evidence he was wrong. He wasn't a jerkass, just not as good a detective as Cadfael or Hugh.
    • In The Raven in the Foregate, Father Ailnoth's death is mourned by nobody, after the residents and reader spend a few chapters being appalled by his cruelty. In the end it turns out that his death was not murder, but an accident which the sole witness considered to be divine judgment.
  • In Kate Ross' second Julian Kestrel mystery, Whom the Gods Love, the victim is gradually revealed to have been this.
  • Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire starts with the local Muggles' viewpoint of the murder of the Riddle family, for whom no one wastes any breath feeling sorry. That said, they didn't sympathize with the man suspected of the murder either, even though he was never charged.
    • Played with in the case of Barty Crouch. He's introduced as a stuffy man who sacked his House Elf while ignoring her sobbing pleas and tossed his neglected son into Azkaban. He becomes less of an asshole when we realize that he had good damned reason to have his son locked up and the last time we see Crouch alive, he's insane, terrified, and trying his hardest to warn Dumbledore about the planned return of Voldemort.
      • He was also more sympathetic in the movie adaptation where we see his son as a depraved, all-grown-up lunatic before he locked him up rather than a scared, innocent young boy.
    • Loxias was such a Complete Monster that everyone--including his own mother--confessed to killing him. His murder was never solved.
  • The victim in the first Lord Darcy story is a drunken lech who is killed by his own sister as he attempts to rape her.
  • Roughly half the victims in Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey novels qualify. Most of the others are old and ill enough to have had a life expectancy measured in at most months even before they were murdered.
    • Sir Reuben, the victim of the first book, Whose Body? seems to be a subversion. Generally, if a businessman is killed in a Golden Age mystery novel, he is a Corrupt Corporate Executive, and if the character is Jewish, as Sir Reuben is, this is certainly going to be true. While Sayers goes with the conventional wisdom/racism by having him be a fairly ruthless businessman, against type, he is beloved by his family and liked or at least respected by his servants and business associates.
    • Strong Poison: Phillip Boyes. In the immortal words of Lord Peter, "If only that young man were alive today, how dearly I should like to kick his bottom for him."
      • Yeah. Boyes got a woman to live with him out of wedlock by claiming to be above marriage, then proposed to her, and was an emotionally abusive jerk to her during their entire relationship. Anyone would want to kick his ass. That she was Peter's true love was only icing on the cake.
    • The Five Red Herrings had Sandy Campbell, a foul-tempered alcoholic who seriously hurt someone at the golf course, threatened people's lives, and physically attacked his neighbor
    • If anything, Geoffrey Deacon in The Nine Tailors is BEYOND an Asshole Victim, so foul and evil that he is by most readings the real villain of the book. Made even more unusual for a mystery novel by the fact that Lord Peter and seven local residents killed him by accident.
    • Murder Must Advertise: Victor Dean was a blackmailer.
    • Mr. Plant, the titular victim of the short story "The Unsolved Puzzle of the Man with No Face", is horrible to his subordinates.
  • Mr. Wagstaffe from the Montague Egg short story False Weight had a wife (using a different name each time) in every town his rounds took him to.
  • The Brothers Karamazov: Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov
  • Rex Stout worked with this a lot in the Nero Wolfe mysteries; victims are usually at least fairly unpleasant people.
    • Death of a Dude (1969): The victim had seduced a local girl, fathered a child out of wedlock, and wouldn't take any responsibility for the baby's welfare; her father, an old friend of Archie's, was arrested for murder just before the opening of the story.
    • A Family Affair (1975): The first victim is attempting blackmail.
    • In the Best Families (1950): The final victim is a major organized crime figure.
    • The short story "Murder is Corny" (1961): The victim was a stalker and a blackmailer.
    • The novella "Black Orchids" (1941): The victim was blackmailing one character and trying the Scarpia Ultimatum on another.
    • The short story "Death of a Demon" takes this to a whole new level; not only is the titular victim a blackmailer, but he's also a sadist.
    • In the short story "Die Like a Dog" the victim was and had the bad sense to go and taunt his victim's estranged husband about this.
    • Too Many Cooks opens, before the victim has even died, with a man ranting not only about how much he wants to kill the soon-to-be victim Philip Laszio, but also how basically every other person we are about to meet in the book has a motive to kill Laszio too. You almost expect Everybody Did It in this one.
  • Patricia Wentworth played with this in her Maud Silver books.
    • Latter End (1947): Lois Latter (The Vamp) had married now-Henpecked Husband James Latter for his money, and exploited all the other women in the household, in some cases just for spite. She actually died because one of the other women suspected her of tampering with James' drink, and switched the cups.
    • Spotlight (1947), also known as Wicked Uncle: The victim was a blackmailer; the U.S. title is due to his being the uncle of the female protagonist, who'd made his wife, her guardian, miserable throughout their marriage.
    • Miss Silver Comes to Stay (1949): James Lessiter, upon finally claiming his mother's estate, begins settling all his debts (somewhat subverted in that at least two of the people with financial motives to kill him had been robbing the estate and aren't particularly sympathetic characters).
    • The Gazebo (1956): The victim was My Beloved Smother; her daughter's fiance was suspected of having finally snapped.
  • This is the reason why R.L. Stine's The Snowman doesn't work: the readers are supposed to dislike him because he's a cold blooded killer, but his victim is a physically and emotionally abusive jerk. The victim in question has beaten his wife and niece, emotionally berated his wife so much as to break her spirit, he's stealing money from his niece's inheritance while barely leaving the rest of his family enough money to eat, and he has zero redeeming qualities. Snowman's actions after the murder indicate a lot of insanity on his part, but readers agree he was pretty justified in killing who he killed. Given how confused he was afterward about why the victim's family wouldn't be happy, and how he seems to think he's done the right thing, readers actually ended up liking him rather than being horrified by him.
    • While the uncle was totally unsympathetic, Snowman tricked the niece into giving him money. He told her something along the lines of his father being in the hospital undergoing an expensive operation and that he needs all the money he can get. She did not find out until much later that he lives alone and apparently has no parents (Gosh, did he murder them?). Then, when he reveals that he killed her uncle, and she displayed horror, he said that he still had the money she gave him and that if she went to the police, he would just tell them that she paid him to kill her uncle. This may dilute your sympathy for Snowman.
  • In the book Hannibal (Thomas Harris), several of his victims are completely unsympathetic and deserve their eventual fate. The rich guy who is funding a private effort to capture and kill him is a child molester, even raped his own sister. The cop who found him tried to sell him to the rich guy for millions of dollars instead of telling the FBI. The doctor who toyed with him and discredited Clarice Starling when he was in prison was a blowhard and a jerk, and Paul Krendler (the guy who got his brain eaten) was a Dept of Justice director who derailed Starling's career for not sleeping with him and colludes with the rich guy to capture Lecter. Each eventually died gruesomely.
    • Lampshaded by Lecter's prison caretaker, who explains that Lecter preferentially kills rude people, sparing those who demonstrate graciousness.
  • Most of the murder victims we actually get any introduction to in Burning Water, by Mercedes Lackey.
    • The gang of school bullies who make the fatal mistake of trying their usual shenanigans on Lavan, later known as "Lavan Firestorm" for very good reasons in Brightly Burning.
  • Usually not seen in Discworld, where posthumous dialogue between victims and Death tends to paint all but the worst villains in a sympathetic light. Used straight with Homicidal Lord Winder from Night Watch, though: a paranoid former Patrician so universally despised that, when an undisguised assassin walked up to him in the midst of a grand ball, the majority of guests either allowed it to happen, or actively distracted Winder's few supporters. Partially averted, because the target's paranoia was so great that the assassin (a young Vetinari) didn't actually have to strike him down; rather, the stress of the confrontation caused the deranged Lord Winder to suffer a fatal heart attack.
    • Of course, knowing Vetinari, that may well have been the intended method of assassination.
  • Robert Heinlein's Friday. Lieutenant Dickey is described as someone who had repeatedly tried to sleep with Janet despite being repeatedly told no, as "slimy", and as having "a size-twelve ego in a size-four soul". About a minute later, the title character kills him as he's trying to arrest one of her friends at gunpoint.
  • The In Death series by J.D. Robb does this at least once with J.D. Robb's usual subtlety (zero). A victim that starts out as a nasty, small-minded prima donna just gets worse with every single thing we find out. The victim would likely have been facing a life sentence if found out by the law before the murderer, and that's mainly because the relevant jurisdiction wouldn't have the death penalty available. It's a good book to read for anyone wondering why a court system might employ justifiable homicide as a separate claim from self-defense. (Though there was a halfway decent "defense of another" argument as well.)
    • Another book in the same series threw this type of victim into a killing spree of otherwise sympathetic victims. One of the cops seemed to be really trying to feel bad, and pretty much failing.
    • There are a lot of these. Eve starts out essentially forcing herself to sympathize with them and feel for them. Witness In Death has her openly admit that the victim was such a Complete Monster that she couldn't feel sorry for him, nor truly condemn his murderer. Her previous attitude is lighter to absent later on, when confronted with such victims.
  • Roger Malcolm in Fire in a Canebrake. All the more noteworthy for being the true story of a lynching. Blame the writer, as the book attempts to present Malcolm's lynching as the tragedy it actually was, while painting Malcolm as a Complete Monster.
  • In Holes, Kissin' Kate Barlow's first victim was the corrupt sheriff, who allowed the burning of her school and the murder of Sam. He brutally refused to help Kate when she begged for help, even trying to blackmail a kiss from Kate to save Sam from being hanged but admit that he would still drive Sam away from town afterwards.
    • Granted, the implication was that his behavior was caused by him being drunk, but it still at the very least really irresponsible of a guy to get drunk on a night when the town's gone insane and undoubtedly needs law enforcement.
    • The rest of the town is implied to count as well. Every one of them turns against Sam, and not long after, the lake dries up, suggesting that a number of people died of thirst or had to abandon their homes.
  • In the short story "Nassau: The Arrow of God", Simon Templar investigates the murder of a man given to publicly announcing other people's sins for his own amusement. Templar "solves" the crime by determining that only one of the suspects has a prior felony (selling fraudulent stock) to conceal. Because nobody ever killed somebody for threatening to expose an extramarital affair or for claiming one's religion is fraudulent.
    • Really, Simon's entire career consists of liberating a succession of asshole victims from (always) their money and (periodically) their lives.
  • In the short story "Invitation to a Poisoning", Nechtan confesses to adultery, theft, perjury, election fraud, armed robbery and attempted rape to the respective victims of the crimes and then promptly drops dead of cyanide poisoning. Having been diagnosed with terminal cancer, he committed suicide in a manner calculated to involve his enemies in an inconvenient murder investigation.
  • Jack Ritchie's short story For All The Rude People. The protagonist gets fed up with deliberate rudeness and emotional cruelty in society and starts murdering anyone who's rude in his presence.
  • Offscreen in the Darkest Powers trilogy, Derek Souza broke a kid's back merely by throwing him at a wall, rendering him paraplegic. Later on, it turns out that Derek had only thrown the kid because he and two others were threatening his younger brother Simon Bae with knives, and Derek's werewolf instincts cause his protective streak to go into overdrive. Later, he goes on to kill another werewolf who was about to rape and kill Chloe, the girl he's in love with, though he regrets it bitterly afterwards. As it turns out, all of the people Derek physically hurts (on purpose, anyway) have done something or another to justify the beatdown.
  • In the Andrew Vachss Burke book Terminal, it turns out that Melissa Turnbridge, the girl whose death Burke is supposed to investigate, was a sexually abusive Fille Fatale.
  • In Lonely Werewolf Girl part of Kalix's Backstory is she killed her father, when readers briefly meet him in a trip to the afterlife it's pretty clear he got off easy with just death.
  • Atlas Shrugged has an entire train's worth of people brutally killed in an accident based on poor management choices, but not before the author makes sure to tell us all about what terrible people they all were.
  • The Black Fleet Crisis of the Star Wars Expanded Universe presents us with not one but two Asshole Victims who take turns victimizing each other. The Empire violently oppressed the Yevetha, a (literally) bloodthirsty Always Chaotic Evil race of aliens who believe all other species are disgustingly inferior. The Yevetha violently rebelled against them, seized the Empire's ships in a bloody coup, and enslaved the surviving Imperial soldiers. The Imperial slaves later violently rose up against their Yevethan masters and stole the ships back, robbing the Yevetha of the core of their fleet and ensuring the New Republic's victory against the Yevetha. Later the brutal Yevethan dictator, Nil Spaar, is stuffed in an escape pod by the Imperials and dumped into hyperspace.
  • In the Mrs. Murphy Mysteries at least one of the victims in each book will not be missed.
  • You are meant to cheer for Tonya's father in A Time to Kill when he kills her rapists. By the end of the trial almost everyone in the town is happy that he gets acquitted. Well, everyone but the Ku Klux Klan.
    • It isn't certain that the KKK is an exception. An early scene in the book has the victims' families asking the KKK for help, and the KKK members are thinking, "We shouldn't let a black man get away with killing white people, but frankly these guys had it coming."
  • The unnamed rapist at the end of Rivers of London who discovered his intended victim had a bad case of Vagina Dentata.
    • In the sequel Moon Over Soho the woman, who is now known as "The Pale Lady" racks up another three victims. All of whom were sexual deviants of one kind or another (including a corrupt ex-police officer with a taste for real Catgirls).
  • Robert Bloch's short story "Sweets to the Sweet" features an abusive father who regularly beats his daughter, blames her for her mother's Death by Childbirth, and calls her a witch. His brother isn't much better, making excuses for his behavior and not caring about the girl's suffering. So the girl studies witchcraft and makes a Voodoo Doll, then when the brother catches on and is about to take it away, lies "Why, it's only candy!" and bites off its head.
  • Ali, actually Courtney in Pretty Little Liars is pretty conniving and bitchy to her friends, and ends up going missing and being found dead in her backyard.
  • A number of the Dark Spirit's victims in A Snowball in Hell are just terrible people, such as Darren "The Daddy" McDade who is very racist and ideologically bankrupt, and a group of land mine manufacturing execs who are... well, land mine manufacturing execs. That doesn't mean that any of them deserve their ultimate fates, of course.
  • Arguably, in Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov justifies his murder of the landlady because she's a skinflint.
  • CC de Poitiers, the victim in Louise Penny's second Three Pines mystery A Fatal Grace, is self-obsessed, emotionally and verbally abusive to her husband and daughter, and universally loathed (even by the man she's having an affair with). Possible motives are not hard to come by.
  • The first to victims of arson in the second book of the Knight and Rogue Series are a brothel and the home of the resident Hanging Judge, who manages to be far less sympathetic than the brothel by showing more concern for his clothes than any of his clients' legal papers, and by promptly acusing Michael of the fire, demanding he be hung on the spot no less.
    • When Fisk and Michael meet, Fisk is on trial for conning a whole slew of asshole victims.
    • Subverted in the first book. While Michael and Fisk spend a good amount of time speculating about how the victim may have had it coming, it turns out he was neither an asshole, nor was he murdered.
  • Stella Rodes, the seemingly angelic victim in John Le Carre's second novel, A Murder of Quality. It turns out that she runs the gamut from taunting people to outright blackmailing them (which is what finally gets her killed).
  • In Septimus Heap, no one feels particularly sad when Jillie Djinn dies. She was very nasty to Beetle and largely to blame for Merrin's actions through her employing of him in the Manuscriptorium.
  • Tyrion Lannister killing his father Tywin at the end of A Storm of Swords. He kinda had it coming.
  • Zigzagged in "Dead Giveaway" (1976) by J. Vernon Shea, a short story set in the Cthulhu Mythos where practically everyone in town turns out to be one of these. The victims included a nice old man who stands up against bullies and is later revealed to be a Nazi that fed razorblades to children in their Halloween candy because they wouldn't get off his lawn, a poor mentally ill lady that is the mockery of the town who is later revealed to have killed her little brother when she was young and was driven mad with guilt, and the neighborhood children... and of course Kids Are Cruel and Teens Are Monsters. One character that seems to be a Jerkass from the offset, the "mean old lady," turns out to be just grieving for her dead son. She is the only one who survives.
  • Used in several Cthulhu Mythos stories, mostly authors other than Lovecraft. The victim in question tends to be selfish jerks, and some are psychopaths. However, since their fates tend to be really, really nasty, the reader may feel bad for with them.
    • The Insects from Shaggai also qualify as their homeworld was destroyed by another abomination. But considering how evil and debased they were, the species desvered their fate.


Live-Action TV Edit

  • Every detective show has a variation of this exchange at least once or twice in its running: The detective asks, "Do you know of anyone you might've wanted X dead?" The other person snorts and replies, "Who didn't want X dead?" or "Half the city wanted X dead, and the other half didn't know him." or "People would've lined up for a chance to kill X."
  • Probably happens on Bones with about the same 50/50 frequency as other crime shows. An example is a Parody of The Office, where a hateful manager is dumped down an elevator. It turns out she had an aneurysm burst when one of the couple she busted for a forbidden affair -- one of whom she was already blackmailing to sleep with her -- threw a stapler at her head in frustration, and the two dumped her body in a panic.
    • In another episode, involving a rich jerkass killed at a rock-and-roll fantasy camp, Sweets lampshades this by actually admitting he likes the killer better than the victim.
  • ER: Dr. Robert Romano, the brash, insensitive Chief of Staff at County General Hospital, who was killed off in the Season 10 episode "Freefall" after being crushed to death in a helicopter crash on the hospital's landing pad. One person mourned his death afterward.
  • Happens quite a bit on The Closer. One really notable example happened in an episode aptly named "Problem Child", where the victim was... well, let's just say that you felt pretty sorry for the actual killer, and half wonder if they didn't actually do the world a favor.
    • Used in-character twice in "Tapped Out", where upon seeing the victim's TV show about teaching men to exploit women emotionally for sex (complete with eight real, not-acting women), Brenda wonders that there's only one bullet in the guy's head; later, she mentions that after the DA saw the show, he decided the case wasn't worth taking to trial and offered a plea bargain, explicitly because the victim was so reprehensible.
    • And again in "Heart Attack", where one of the victims actually, all of them avoided conviction for the gang-rape of a child. The killer even says that by killing them, harvesting their organs, and giving the organs to patients in desperate need of a transplant, the young men are finally contributing to society.
  • Most of the victims in the first two seasons of Columbo, allowing Columbo to have a cozy time with the murderer.
  • One episode of Crossing Jordan featured an asshole who had eaten fugu, leaving him paralyzed but still alive hearing all the reasons he was hated and promising to change in his mind. When it's found out and recovers, he promises to sue the main characters for malpractice, then walks out of the hospital and gets hit & killed by an ambulance.
  • The title character in Dexter retains the audience's sympathy by adhering to a strict code of ethics that includes only killing other killers. Sometimes, there are aversions or complications.
    • Dexter takes pity on Jeremy Downs because he was driven to kill to get revenge on a boy who raped him. It was ultimately a mistake.
    • In season 3, Dexter does kill two people who are not known to be killers themselves: Oscar Prado, who was not yet a killer, but was trying to kill Freebo, a drug dealer. Also, "Cheerios Guy," a child molester, who made the mistake of triggering Dexter's Papa Wolf mode by stalking Astor.
    • Season 4 has him mistakenly kill Farrow. Dexter feels guilty about killing someone who wasn't a killer, but the guy was such a scumbag misogynist that he quickly gets over it.
    • In Season 5, Dexter kills Stan Liddy for no other reason than to avoid getting caught. However, Liddy was a corrupt former cop and conducting an illegal investigation, so it's easier for the audience to forgive. Also, Liddy had just tasered and abducted him. That was probably a factor.
      • At the beginning of that season there was also the random guy in the boathouse whose only crime (that we know of) was being generally an asshole and insulting Rita to Dexter's face while he was still trying to process her death.
  • Jeremy Baines in the Doctor Who episode Human Nature is a Jerkass, and the first to be killed and his body used by the Family of Blood.
    • Davros' assistant, Nyder. It's hard to feel sorry for him when the Daleks kill him carrying out an order of Davros against their will.
    • Zimmerman, the first victim of the Tesselecta in Let's Kill Hitler, is a Nazi confirmed to be guilty of what the Tesselecta's crew describe as 'Level 3 Hate Crimes'.
  • Mark Goodson from the Torchwood episode "Small Worlds". We don't particularly mind that he's stalked and murdered, because the first time we see him he's trying to kidnap and rape a little girl.
  • Most of the episodes of the TV series Ellery Queen would qualify.
  • Virtually any episode of Murder, She Wrote.
    • There are actually some exceptions scattered throughout the show's long run of some perfectly nice people getting killed, but one in particular stands out as a very deliberate subversion of this trope. It centers around this Smug Snake Corrupt Corporate Executive where everything about him just seems to scream Asshole Victim... until we get to the halfway point and the murder victim is the exec's much nicer brother.
  • Emmett Byrne is the major Jerkass in Chuck. Yet, in the episode Chuck Versus the Pink Slip he manages to crank his own jerk-ass-ness Up to Eleven, which makes the scene where he is murdered in cold blood all the more satisfying.
  • Many Law and Order episodes. In one episode in particular, in which the killer was acquitted by the jury. Jack McCoy's philosophical reaction is that this sometimes happens "when your victim is sleazier than your perp." In this case, the victim was a Dragon Lady who let the killer's underage son run up $50K in sex line charges, whom it also turns out was running a sex slave ring.
    • Another was set up to look like a type 3, since the victim was a neo-nazi child molester. Turned out that the murderer was a brilliant but unbalanced writer who basically killed a stranger on impulse. The rest of the episode was about whether he should be executed, turning this into a type 2 (since it would be hard to sympathize if he'd killed a pregnant mother of three).
    • Still another had a sleazy paparazzo (who had just Karma Houdinied his way out of a Manslaughter charge) was shot to death outside of his favorite eatery. When the patrons realized who'd been shot... they burst into applause.
    • When a notorious drug lord is murdered, Detective Briscoe is less than enthusiastic about finding out who killed the guy. Especially when the prime suspect becomes the father of a boy the victim had led into a life of drugs, and later into death by overdose. But later, a priest comes forward and confesses to killing the drug lord... because God told him to.
  • Most, but not all, Perry Mason episodes.
  • Cold Case usually attempts to make the audience empathize with the victim. Which means it can sometimes throw the audience when the emotional flashbacks detail the death of a child molester, or baby thief, or...
    • It's really about 50/50 with Cold Case. Since the emotional flashbacks show exactly why the victim was killed, it's often a toss-up as to whether the victim or the murderer is treated more sympathetically. On occasion, both are.
    • It's especially true in the episode Blackout, in which literally everyone in the Closed Circle scene hated the victim.
    • And in the episode Justice, where the victim was a college BMOC: handsome, charming... and a serial date rapist. When the cops investigating your murder coach the person who killed you into claiming it was self-defense (when it really, really wasn't), you know you're an asshole.
  • Homicide: Life On the Street once had them investigate two suicides caused by a particular nasty piece of work, who was going to reveal their extramarital affairs. This wasn't blackmail, as he was going to reveal regardless, and only giving them a few days warning, as his Moral Judgment. The SOB was killed by the photographer who he blackmailed into being his accomplice.
  • Midsomer Murders, about 75% of the time.
    • Including one character, played by Orlando Bloom, who was sleeping with at least three different women (one of whom was paying him for it) until he got pitchforked through the chest in the first five minutes. He was also a petty thief and a vandal with a serious attitude problem.
  • Most of the victims on the Game Show Cluedo were straight-up ass-lacquers. Definitely helps for a show with a small, recurring cast of potential murderers.
    • Similarly, the entire cast of the movie Clue was either the blackmailer, his accomplices, or the blackmailed suspects (who all survive the movie), except, of course, FBI agent Mr. Green.
  • While he survived, let's not forget J.R. Ewing from Dallas.
    • Similarly, Lionel Luthor from Smallville. Of course, when he did die, this trope was averted.
  • Subversion in one CSI. The victim is an asshole to his four co-workers, all of whom were the only ones to have access to the room he died in. The audience is led to believe that a combination of two or more of the four are the ones who offed the Jerkass (all of whom are pretty jerkassy themselves). Turns out it was the janitor cleaning the vents, who killed the man when his hammer fell out of the pocket and through the grate. He didn't know the guy and removed the hammer because he didn't want to go back to jail.
    • It happens many, many times in the CSI franchise, usually coupled with a Sympathetic Murderer. Examples include:
      • A clingy ex-wife who insisted on making life hell for her ex-husband and children. She tried to put a hit on herself to frame her ex-husband and when she couldn't do it, she tricked her own son into killing her for the same reason.
      • An egomaniac Paris Hilton-esque reality show star.
      • A convicted pedophile on parole. He was staying at his brother's house, and the stress of having him around plus the associated harassment by the neighbors caused said brother's pregnant wife to miscarry. The brother then catches the pedophile spying on a playground which turns out to be the last straw and kills him.
      • A millionaire serial litigator. Murdered by a chef whose life she had completely destroyed and was getting ready to do the same on his new workplace.
      • A horribly corrupt Deputy Mayor of NYC responsible for embezzling several million dollars out of various charities and refusing to raise policemen's salaries leading to a city-wide strike. Murdered by his 10 year old OCD son after he planned on sending him to a boarding school out of frustration for his condition.
      • A mother who was bludgeoned to death by her son, she was later revealed to be a massive bitch who would beat her children regularly and killed one of them by making him wash his mouth out with bleach after he swore.
      • A young man who was poisoned by a cheerleader who he had mocked when she was overweight. After suffering a completely undeserved Humiliation Conga, the girl managed to lose weight and carry out a Gambit Roulette to get her revenge.
      • A pedophile father who sexually abused his daughter for years and was also setting his sights on her young daughter that was concieved through his abuse. And also the mother, who was complicit in the abuse to the point that she'd take the daughter by the hand and lead her to the bedroom where daddy was waiting, and then close the door behind her. And the older brothers of the daughter who also knew what was going on and were old enough to do something about it (mid/late teens), but said nothing. Long story short, when the daughter realized that her father was eyeing her own daughter (who was just reaching the age when her own abuse started) and the entire family yet again was going to stand by and do nothing, she killed them all. She was completely unrepentant when she was busted, saying that she was the only person in the house who was going to protect her daugher.
  • In an early episode of Foyle's War, the victim was a Nazi sympathizer.
  • Most victims in Whodunnit!. In the most extreme case, every suspect tried to claim credit for killing the victim (a South American dictator) and the mystery was to work out who was telling the truth rather than who was lying.
  • Jenny Schecter in the final season of The L Word. Each teaser seems to end with yet another person having a reason to hate her.
  • One episode of Monk has the title character investigate the deaths of a bunch of violent mobsters. It turns out that they died because they pulled guns on another criminal, making it difficult to determine to what extent their deaths count as acts of self-defense. The killer tries to excuse himself by pointing out that his victims were assholes.
    • Also, in the episode Mr. Monk and the Red Headed Stranger, Sonny Cross, the murder victim, was a person who embezzled a lot of money (embezzling $400,000 from Willie Nelson, and it is implied that this is not the first time he has done so later on in the episode), and he also did time for drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter. In regards to the latter incident, he also received a very lenient punishment, spending only 18 months in prison. Also, the murderer was a blind woman (well, half-blind, she regained the sight of one of her eyes from slipping on the floor at a Supermarket) who was the sole survivor of her family, the family who was killed by Cross's drunk driving, and it was because of his manslaughter that she was even blind in the first place.
  • Usually the case with long-running murder mysteries on Home and Away.
    • Josh West: an obvious JR Ewing-expy, the town's corrupt mayor, intent on destroying the town by building a freeway right through it. Had also taken bribes from an insane cult leader and was prepared to blackmail Barry over the circumstances of his wife's death.
    • Angie Russell: framed a teenager for sexual assault, lied to Rhys that he was the father of her son, destroying his marriage, locked Sally in a room without her OCD medication, and burned down Scott's boat shed.
    • Grant Bledcoe: at 14, had raped Charlie and fathered her daughter (who was raised by her parents as her sister). Still a sociopath 16 years later, when he was killed by Charlie's father.
    • Sam Tolhurst: Killed a man in his hospital bed to keep him from blackmailing her, then killed herself to frame her husband and his ex-wife for her murder.
      • Johnny Cooper: leader of a gang of violent surfers, who had tried to keep his brother Rocco from going straight, eventually having him murdered after he helped the police catch him. He allowed Rocco's foster brother to be convicted of his murder and terrorised him in prison. After escaping from prison a year later, he tried to kill Sally, who had taken in Rocco and supposedly turned him against his brother. And finally, not only did he blackmail Sam into hiding him, it was implied that he raped her offscreen.
    • Mark Edwards: One of the victims of the Summer Bay Stalker, an ex-boyfriend of Josie who she had a one-night stand with behind her boyfriend's back. After she broke it off and got engaged to Jesse, he blackmailed her, first over the affair, then over a self-defense killing she had committed sixteen years earlier. It was also revealed that he had slept with a fifteen-year-old, information that Josie unsuccessfully used to get him to back off.
    • Penn Tiberius Graham: Crossed the Moral Event Horizon when he planted a hypodermic needle to make his much younger girlfriend believe she had contracted HIV. He also framed Colleen for theft and psychologically tormented Alf with a ventriloquist dummy. He does have some seeming Pet the Dog moments and a Freudian Excuse, (Alf's affair with his mother played a role in the deaths of his parents) but by the time he dies, (Will stabs him in self-defence), he arguably qualifies as a Complete Monster.
    • Stu Henderson, Sasha's abusive boyfriend, though as we learn more about his home life he becomes something of a Jerkass Woobie.
  • Lost had Anthony Cooper, who ruined the lives of at least two main characters before he was killed by Sawyer.
    • Also, rather humorously, the obnoxious and bitchy red shirt Neil 'Frogurt' has a particularly satisfying death after 2 or so episodes of generally being an unhelpful dick.
    • You only see him for about ten seconds, but Kate's stepdad Wayne is clearly established as creepy, disgusting, and abusive. Richard's murder of the doctor also qualifies, although it may be more manslaughter.
    • Martin Keamy definitely qualifies. Both times he's killed.
  • The vicious street gang that the UnSub starts killing his way through in the Criminal Minds episode "True Night", although the unsub's methods are so brutal that one of the police actually says that it's the first time he's felt sorry for the gang.
    • A recurring plot point when the team is profiling someone is for the first victim in a string to be responsible for the event that triggered a serial killer, leading to many of them being Asshole Victims.
    • Likewise, the Unsub in "A Real Rain" targets victims who were acquitted for crimes. Various members of the cops, reporters, courthouse workers and general public all express ambivalence or even support for his actions due to their own disillusionment with the system. The UnSub from "Reckoner" is a similar vigilante.
    • When the team mention to a witness that Tobias Hankel murdered his own father, the witness responds "good for him". That says it all about the victim, really.
    • In almost every instance of female UnSubs, the victims are specifically male assholes. This, however, is subverted in "The Thirteenth Step" and brutally averted in "I Love You, Tommy Brown".
    • With the exception of the deputy sheriff and Mr. Stratman (who were killed out of necessity), every person targeted by Owen Savage in "Elephant's Memory".
  • Many episodes of NCIS certainly, however the episode "Smoked" has an interesting twist. Because of evidence found during the autopsy, the entire team, and the viewer, believes their victim is a serial killer who murdered dozens of women who look like his wife. Gibbs and Fornell believe the wife to have found out and killed the husband, and they are sympathetic during the interview. Then, in the last five minutes, due to some more forensic magic, it is determined that the husband was completely innocent and SHE is the serial killer.
    • Not entirely innocent - The victims all had a toe removed because the killer was missing it. The husband had a toe in his stomach at the time of death.
    • I think the inference may have been that the wife - the real serial killer - fed the toe to her husband.
    • NCIS also did this in the backstory with Gibbs' murder of Pedro Hernandez (pretty much in cold blood and premeditated), who had murdered Gibbs' wife and daughter earlier. At first this is only sporadically brought up in flashbacks (particularly during the Hiatus arc while Gibbs recovers from trauma and memory loss). It later comes back to haunt him in the "Rule 51" arc concluding season 7, where the idea of vengeance is also heavily deconstructed.
    • Another example is the episode "Caged", where a guard in a women's prison gets stabbed to death, and the team must find out who killed the guard. The guard is blackmailing an inmate's high school daugther for sex. It's implied that said inmate (who had less than one year left on her sentence, and wants to be a mother to her kids) stabbed the guard, but another inmate (on a 175 year sentence), who McGee was sent to get a confession from, confesses to the murder. The team agrees that they won't lose any sleep over that.
    • Even the birth of NCIS came about with one of these. The two-parter JAG episode Ice Queen/Meltdown that served as the NCIS pilot introduced Gibbs and DiNozzo investigating the death of Lt. Singer and her five month fetus, the token 'Evil Witch' on JAG.
  • Nearly every soap opera on the air has employed this trope for one of their "whodunit" murder mysteries. Most notably, on All My Children in 1992, Will Cortlandt was bludgeoned to death with a crowbar and had become such a pariah that there were no less than 15 suspects, including his own SISTER.
  • Mr. Tanner in The Vampire Diaries. Despite being universally disliked when Damon killed him it actually did make Stefan call him irredeemable, mostly because he still murdered the first guy he saw just to prove a point.
  • Common on Jonathan Creek.
  • Irina, Preston's Russian fiancee in Desperate Housewives. A heartless goldigger she makes the mistake of sneering at the wrong nerdy guy, who it turns out is the local murderer.
  • There are plenty of these in Supernatural, and when someone has to die to show the Monster of the Week means business, it's usually them. Or the most innocent person, for the lulz. This is because many Monsters of the Week on this show pursue a warped idea of justice that becomes less discriminate vengeance. Others just want to eat people.
  • In the Angel episode "Double or Nothing", Angel had to invoke this trope to enlist bystanders' help in taking down a hard-to-kill-for-good mob boss. "How many of you owe this guy money?"
  • Similarly, during Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Six, Warren Mears crosses a Moral Event Horizon when he accidentally kills his own girlfriend and attempts to frame Buffy for it, to no avail. Eventually, he shoots Buffy and nearly kills her, but also kills fellow Scooby Tara Maclay with a stray bullet. Willow is driven insane with grief, tracks Warren down, tortures him, and finally skins him alive. Both Xander and Dawn fully support the murder of Warren, Xander fully remarking that he "got what was coming to him."
  • A recurring feature on Law and Order SVU.
    • One episode featured a psychiatrist who took advantage of a newborn boy's apparently extremely botched circumcision to manipulate his parents into having sex changed into a girl so he could run a long term experiment to prove the idiotic idea that "nurture, not nature, determines sexual identity," and is later revealed by the girl/boy's identical twin brother to have had the twins effectively dry hump each other to supposedly "reinforce their gender roles." And when the female psychologist on the detectives' team finally reveals the truth about her/his birth to Lindsay/Lucas, the bastard still refuses to accept his "theory" is wrong even as she/he is standing there screaming, "I NEVER ONCE FELT RIGHT!" even threatening have the other psychologist's career ended. The twin boys put together a plan where they go to a double feature, and one slips out during the second film and smashes his head in!
      • This was based on a true story ("Brenda" was the "girl" in question), though the therapist wasn't killed in real life.
    • In another, a doctor who had been written about in a magazine kills his pregnant lover in her third trimester and fills a syringe with someone else's blood to spoof the detectives' paternity test, but the blood turns out to belong to a child rapist with at least two victims. Before he can find a way out of that, the rapist himself finds and kills him. Of course, then they have to find him.
    • An entire episode in Season Two entitled "Victims" was made entirely of this trope. Victims include a man who raped an young girl and slashed her face, leaving her for dead. Stabler is outraged at having to work their murders, feeling they had it coming.
    • The very first episode had a Serbian war criminal responsible for at least sixty-seven rapes being beaten, stabbed and having his penis severed by two vengeful women.
    • In the episode Signature, they find the latest victim of a serial killer, as well as a dead man right next to her. The episode changes gears quickly when they find out that their male victim is the serial killer.
    • In "Angels", the victim is a child molester who had kidnapped two boys from Guatamala and beat them as well as molested them. Elliot even says killing the guy was a public service, but they still go after his killer.
    • In the episode "Chameleon", the first act of the episode is devoted to chasing down a serial rapist and killer - who is then slain by a different serial killer, who specifically targets these types of characters in order to elicit sympathy from the general public. She almost gets away with it, as it seems the jury is sympathetic, but the fact that she kills to get what she wants turns out to be her downfall...
    • A tween rapist is forcing his victim into getting an abortion (and may have been been close to taking matters into his own hands) when he's killed by a meek boy with a crush on her.
  • In the Hong Kong comedy detective show To Catch The Uncatchable, majority of the victims are often Jerkass and should had it coming to them. The female protagonist's previous boss had several affairs and tried to rape the protagonist as well. Turns out his jilted lover was the one to kill him. Another man was a cult leader who put drugs into his believers' drinks so they would follow his orders and would later force the drugs down a believer's throat for disobeying him and also going out with his son. His wife tried to stop him from killing the girl and accidentally pushed him too hard, causing him to fall off the building. There was a woman who was a model who chased after men, then dumped them after she had exploited them for all they are worth. She was pushed off the stairs by a fan of hers, after she insulted him for being worthless.
  • In Flashpoint, if the killer/hostage taker is at all sympathetic, it's because the victim was a gigantic asshole.
    • One episode deals with a football coach who verbally abused his players, even bullying other players to physically attack weaker players.
    • Another had an abusive husband, who also tried to kill his wife's sister when she came after him. He tried to get away with it, like he had always done with his wife's abuse, but the SRU team caught him red-handed choking his wife's sister and recorded him saying just that.
    • And in other episode was a group of jerk jocks tormented a classmate, especially since he had a crush on the leader's much nicer girlfriend. They humiliated him in front of her and then recorded the event and posted it up on the Internet. He comes to school with a gun to get them. But not to kill them, just to humiliate them the way they humiliated him.
    • In the episode "Acceptable Risk", it toyed with this trope when a widow went after the people who dropped charges on a pharmaceutical company after they were bribed by the company into keeping quiet about the drug's potential dangers, which led to the widow's husband's death. She never really gets to Sympathetic Murderer status, as she's shown being extremely calculating and cruel to the people she kills, understanding that she has a limited amount of time before the police stop her, and she crosses the Moral Event Horizon when she tries to kill one of her target's innocent wife who was standing between her and her target. She comes across as much more terrifying than sympathetic.
  • House gets in on this in season 6 when Chase murders a patient, due to said patient being a ruthless African dictator, who let slip that the first thing he was going to do when he got back to his country was order a full out genocide of some ethnic minorities he thought were a threat to his regime.
    • Toyed with maybe, the killer is racked by guilt for quite some time and probably only did what they did in the end because they felt directly responsible for having saved his life earlier (having shouted a warning when an assassin was spotted). The scene where the assassin explains exactly what happened back home makes you realize that this dictator is waaaaaaaay past Asshole Victim and well into the Complete Monster zone.
  • 1000 Ways to Die features this quite frequently. In some cases, the real-life demise of someone who wasn't an asshole at all will be dressed up in a pseudonym and this trope, to make tragic misfortune seem like poetic justice.
  • In Reaper, Sam has to save his old Sadist Teacher from an escaped soul wanting to kill him in revenge, and it would have been better had they just let him get killed first. Fortunately he got his comeuppance in the end.
  • Played with in an episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent: the victim was a registered sex offender (he'd committed statutory rape, but the DA's office had railroaded him and convicted him of flat-out rape), and as the episode continues, Logan gets increasingly angry over the fact that a man has been decapitated and mutilated, but because he was a sex offender, no-one seems to care.
  • A very real concern for the title character of Raines; as he hallucinates the victims, cases tend to be more strenuous for him if he doesn't like the person who died.
  • Used sometimes on Boston Legal, such as when Catherine Piper kills Bernard, who gloats about his two murders making him feel godlike, or when a man who used his money to get him skilled lawyers who engineered a not guilty plea is killed by his victim's mother.
  • Several victims in Primeval qualify as this.
    • The journalists from season three who get a bunch of people (and themselves) eaten by a Giganotosaurus just to get a story.
    • Christine Johnson, the person who took over the ARC, tried to arrest the entire main cast, and had Lester forced out of the ARC, who is pushed into a Future Predator-full anomaly by Helen Cutter.
    • Henry Merchant from 5x03, who tries to get Emily institutionalized just for the sake of his reputation, and then shoots her, and then threatens to shoot Matt if she doesn't come back with him to the 1860s where she'd probably hang for murders that she didn't commit.
  • The Onedin Line has a storyline in series one with a discussion of a disputed death of a shipmate, covered up by the original captain but which probably was murder, four years prior to the events of the series. When Annie calls it a brutal murder, James claims he was a brutal man - so that's all right then...
    • James was looking at it from a sailors pov. He knew how much power a tyranical captain had, and that having one could be a Fate Worse Than Death.
  • In the pilot of The Unusuals, the late Detective Kowalski is revealed to have been a Corrupt Cop, an adulterer, a blackmailer and an all-around Jerkass for the purpose of making everyone a suspect. However, his widow is shown to love him and genuinely mourn him.
  • The City Homicide episode "Cut and Dried" has a convicted child molester murdered in prison, and few of the detectives are motivated to investigate too thoroughly. It's then subverted when it turns out he was genuinely repentant, was intending to give evidence against the pedophile ring he belonged to, and was in fact silenced by two of the prison guards.
  • Pretty much everyone on Oz qualifies for this, since they're in a maximum security prison. Especially nasty pieces of work were William Cudney,who murdered the son of the doctor that gave His wife an abortion, and Malcoln Coyle,who murdered an entire family including an infant for fun. Even inmates who committed murder were appalled by Their crimes.
  • In the third season finale and fourth season premiere of The Mentalist, Jane ended up killing the man believed to be Red John. Of course, it's later revealed that he wasn't actually Red John, but it ultimately didn't matter because the guy who was killed, as well as his wife, were a couple of kidnappers.
  • At the beginning of season nine of Two and A Half Men, it is implied that Charlie may have been shoved in front of a train by a girlfriend who caught him cheating. His funeral is full of women talking about the STDs they got from him and a man who wants to collect $30,000 in what are implied to be drug-related debts.
  • Crownies has Ray Stone, an abusive husband who terrorized his wife Joanne and sister-in-law Heather-Marie, until he was beaten to death with a boltcutter. Erin's sympathies lie with Joanne Mervich, though she tries to avoid letting it get in the way of her job, even contributing to Rhys's closing arguments.
    • Played with in Arrested Development. The narrator gives a Tonight Someone Dies monologue, and the scene immediately cuts to an old woman making a racist remark. He comments: "Okay, I'll just tell you right now. She's the one who dies." Later turns out to not be a straight example, as it's not a murder, but an accident.
  • More than one victim of the headless biker in The Chronicle episode "Bring Me the Head of Tucker Burns" is given characterization. Even before The Reveal, it looks like the biker is paying evil unto evil (albeit disproportionately).
  • This trope is also used in multiple incarnations of Kamen Rider.
    • The enemies in Kamen Rider Faiz are called Orphenochs. They proclaim to be the next step in human evolution and most find it perfectly OK to kill regular humans. Yuka Osada, one of the protagonists, also kills normal humans, but only criminals.
    • In Kamen Rider Kabuto a Worm shows up that targets criminals as its prey. So the good guys lure it to them by pretending to be thieves.
    • In Kamen Rider OOO, the Monsters of the week are called Yummies. They are creatures born from and act out human desire. One of them is born from the desire of a man who wishes to punish criminals. So the monster starts brutally beating them up.
    • In Kamen Rider W, the Virus Dopant possesses an SUV and runs down several people. Eventually the heroes learn that it's a young woman who wants revenge on her fiancé for cheating on her, and he temporarily saved his own skin by diverting her wrath to the gang that put her in a coma with a hit-and-run. And then when Double defeats the Dopant, the fiancé cheers "Yeah, that's what you get, you bitch!" The very first thing Shotaro does after de-transforming is slug the smug SOB right across the face after delivering his Catch Phrase[1] in a particularly cold and angry tone of voice.
  • In Downton Abbey, there are: Pamuk and Vera.


Music Edit

  • "Goodbye, Earl" by the Dixie Chicks.
  • "Janie's Got A Gun" by Aerosmith is about a teenage girl who shoots her father after being raped by him.
  • "I Remember Larry" by Weird Al Yankovic has the eponymous Larry do all sorts of horrible things to his neighbor, who eventually snaps.
  • Mercedes Lackey's filk "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night." The Countess, a talentless would-be musician, dies in a locked tower to which her husband has the only other key. But she was such an unpleasant person that:

 And one fact most astounding to them quickly came to light--

That every moment of the Count was vouched for on that night.

The castle folk by ones and twos came forward on their own

To swear the Count had never once that night been all alone.

So though the Tower had been locked tight, with two keys to the door,

One his, one hers; the Count of guilt was plain absolved for sure.

  • "38 Years Old" by The Tragically Hip is about a man imprisoned for murdering his sister's rapist.
  • "Terror Starts at Home" by Beneath the Sky is another example of this. A man rapes his own daughter and she responds by cutting his penis off. The music video shows it in graphic detail.
    • "Testicular Manslaughter" by Cattle Decapitation and "Blunt Force Castration" by Cannibal Corpse are also about a rapist being castrated.
  • Alt-Rapper Jesse Dangerously's song Outfox'd (When Pacifists Attack) is about one getting what's coming to him


New Media Edit


Mythology Edit

  • In Classical Mythology its a reoccurring theme. Ouranos and Kronos lose any sympathy points when they are brutally overthrown due to their treatment of their kids. The Olympians often punished mortals for being complete assholes, but were not limited to this.
    • Hercules was known for his rages involving lots of death. What sets him apart from some other Greek heroes is the victim usually had it coming by cheating Hercules or being a complete a-hole Herc usually accepted punishment when he was in the wrong.
    • In other media, whenever Zeus or another gods is overthrown the Olympians are portrayed as having it coming by emphasizing their Jerkass side.
  • Norse Mythology is often very brutal with Grey and Gray Morality. The gods usually come off slightly better by the giants being massive assholes first.


Theatre Edit


Tabletop Games Edit

  • Subverted in Nobilis: one example of play in the second edition rulebook involved an attack on the concept of Treachery that relied on warping reality so that a nice person who had been murdered by her boyfriend retroactively became an Asshole Victim. This would, apparently, have undermined Treachery by mixing in justice where it wasn't supposed to be, undermining reality. (Excrucians are not nice people)


Video Games Edit

  • Every single target in Assassin's Creed. They all get their very own moment before their assassinations that put them here.
    • In Assassin's Creed II, at least one gets an Alas, Poor Villain moment: Dante Moro, the brain-damaged bodyguard of Marco Barbarigo. He tries to give Ezio some help with his last words (telling him where the Templars are next). Additionally, after his death you receive a letter from his former wife that he was tricked into annulling his marriage too, stating that she still loves him and hopes for the day that he'll recover and remember her.
      • It's much worse than that: as your informant Shaun tells you, Dante's boss coveted his wife, and so tried to Murder the Hypotenuse. He survived but with severe brain damage, reverting him to a child-like state. This led his boss to manipulating Dante into divorcing his wife and becoming his Dragon. The poor guy was probably the only named victim in any of the AC games you could feel any real sympathy for.
        • Of course, such only adds to potential justification for killing said boss.
      • In the Bonfire of the Vanities it is also subverted, some of Salvonara's Lieutenants are pretty forced to do his bidding through the Apple and had no choice in the matter and regret what they have done to Florence in the name of attempting to seek enlightenment or just forced to serve him through the apple.
    • Finally subverted in Assassin's Creed: Revelations, when after assassinating him on a count of treason, Tarik Barleti reveals that he was executing his own scheme against the Templars, having sold them defunct firearms in an attempt to lure the them out of hiding.
      • Worse yet, Tarik doesn't even blame Ezio for his death, instead blaming his own hubris. Instead of his traditional "Requiscat in pace," Ezio's final words to him are, "I am sorry."
  • Subverted in Dragon Quest VIII. The Big Bad has been killing people, and you've been following him in the hopes of putting a stop to it. The previous victims have all been high-profile, usually the most important people in their respective towns. Enter Dominico, who clearly is the most important man in Arcadia and seems certain to be the next target. Dominico is also a complete douchebag to everybody in general, but to his servant David in particular, heaping humiliation after humiliation on the doggedly loyal young man, even forcing him to taste for poison in his dog's food. You already know nobody's going to regret this guy's death. Except, it's the eminently likable David who turns out to be the target, rather than Dominico, who isn't quite as important as he thought he was.
  • The first victim of the supernatural serial killer in Phantasmagoria 2 - A Puzzle of Flesh is the bullying asshole of a coworker at the protagonist's work place, causing Curtis a lot of concern as to whether or not he may have killed him during a psychotic black-out. Of course, then the people he likes start dying, and the otherworldly antagonist gets a lot less subtle.
  • Persona 4 had Kinshiro "King Moron" Morooka, a Jerkass Sadist Teacher/Steve Buscemi-lookalike who puts the Main Character on his shit list only after just meeting him. That being said, it avoids the Unfortunate Implications that it's okay to kill Jerkasses. Even the main characters remark that while they hated him, he didn't deserve to end up dead.
    • Ironically, this winds getting such a massive case of Alas, Poor Scrappy it winds getting subverted, especially because his replacement is such a shameless, spiteful whore that even the teenage guys who hated the first person hate the successor MORE because she manages to outdo the Asshole Victim she replaced in being a Jerkass, and this is so bad it overpowers any of her Ms. Fanservice tendencies. And, considering how ass ugly (in temperament and appearance) who she replaced was, that is quite a feat.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, the player character gets the chance to solve a murder. Turns out the victim was having an affair with one suspect's wife, and had been in a fight over business with the other suspect.
    • Later in the game, the PC gets to do play detective/lawyer again, but this time the trope is completely inverted: though the victim is a Dark Jedi -- and as such, no girl scout -- her murderer is even worse. And infuriatingly vital for the Republic's war effort.
      • The game does not force you into saving the murderer, however.
  • Almost everyone of Agent 47's targets in the Hitman series is some kind of big-time criminal. Sex traffickers, mobsters, terrorists, and corrupt politicians are just some of 47's victims. However in cutscenes, 47 has murdered a presumably innocent postman to protect his identity, and Requiem in Blood Money has him kill a priest and reporter to protect his identity. In terms of targets, stand out "innocents" are the failed private investigator in that biker level and possibly others like Joseph Clarence (who is probably not a bad person, just an utter failure.) Completely innocent targets are still in the minority by a great margin.
    • Joseph Clarance ran an amusement park with terrible safety regulations that killed 30 people. He isn't in the league of a sex trafficker or terrorist, but he has blood on his hands.
  • Condemned: Criminal Origins, All the victims of Serial Killer X/Leland were all serial killers themselves. He would kill them the way they killed their victims. Needless to say all the murders were fairly brutal.
  • Playing with this trope: in The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion on the Dark Brotherhood quests, about halfway through the questline your anonymous orders stop being 'kill this person, no reason given', and start painting a detailed picture of the asshole you are about to murder. They are all lies, but the victims really did kind of have it coming - you have been unknowingly bumping off the leaders of the Dark Brotherhood itself.
    • First few are still assholes. You've got a pirate, a rapist, a guy who had the brotherhood kill his own mother to save his skin (unfortunately he lives if you finish it "right"), a warlord, that mouthy dark elf from the tutorial, and a mooching drug addict. The only person on the list of slaughter victims who wasn't a jerkass of one stripe or the other was Baenlin.
  • In Mass Effect 2, Thane's loyalty quest goes to great lengths to show that the target of Kolyat's assassination attempt is corrupt. Even in the outcomes where he winds up dead, everyone cares more about what's going to happen to Kolyat; you can even talk the C-Sec officer into not pressing charges for attempted murder. Thane's role as The Atoner involves specifically targeting these. In fact, you meet him during what was to be his last job, a Corrupt Corporate Executive Bad Boss.
  • Ozette in Tales of Symphonia. They treat Presea terribly, are especially racist towards half-elves and even report your party to the Papal Knights when you come back to help Presea. It's difficult to feel much sympathy when Cruxis destroys the town, considering that none of the victims were significant exceptions to the general behavior.
  • Ragou and Cumore in Tales of Vesperia take this trope Up to Eleven. In the first act of the game, Ragou is found to have been feeding some of the already-abused citizens of the town he governs to monsters for entertainment, claiming that the party doesn't understand the high class of taste it takes to find it amusing. Watching him walk away the first time he is caught is one of the most difficult parts of the game to sit through. In the second act, Cumore has been forcing citizens of the desert town he has jurisdiction over to search for an ancient and powerful phoenix-like creature. They are literally dropped in the middle of said desert to search for said monster. Assuming they found the monster (no one does), it is more than capable of instantly killing just about anything, including similar god-like creatures. When both are finally brought to justice, the legal system of Terca Lumireis lets both of them go with either a minor reduction in rank or no punishment at all. Both assholes meet their end -- Ragou is slashed across his back and dumped into a river; Cumore is backed into what is essentially a pit of quicksand -- at the hands of disgruntled Imperial soldier turned vigilante Yuri Lowell... whose reward is to get ragged on it by his borderline Lawful Stupid friend and ex-comrade Flynn Scifo.
  • While the player commits many atrocities in the Death Knight starting quests in World of Warcraft, often against civilians, the primary opponents are the Scarlet Crusade, which tortures and kills perceived enemies, and whose leadership leaves many of the civilians to die in order to flee and attack the Scourge in Northrend. The Lich King's forces may still be worse, but the Scarlet Crusade is also considered an enemy by the other groups fighting the Lich King because of their extremist positions.
    • By "perceived enemies," they mean "anybody who might be corrupted by the Scourge." And by "anybody who might be corrupted by the Scourge," they mean "anybody who isn't part of the Scarlet Crusade."
    • Also in Warcraft 3, you probably still cheer for Varimathras when he kills Garithos.
    • In Mount Hyjal, your character infiltrates the Twilight's Hammer to conduct sabotage. To prove your loyalty, you have are ordered to execute some of the failed applicants who are held in detention. Luckily for you, the Twilight's Hammer functions on Klingon Promotion and every single prisoner is more than happy to attack you and offer your blood as a sacrifice to the Old Gods.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth murders President Shinra. This is the same president who ordered the destruction of an entire neighborhood just to get rid of some terrorists
    • To clarify: the Midgar is a bustling metropolis. The terrorist group he was seeking to "deal with" amounted to five members, plus the mercenary. So to get rid of the organization, he blew up the plate over the slum they were based out of, to kill them, destroying about an eighth of the city in the process (and only managed to kill three of the six people he was aiming for). Not many tears were shed upon his demise, save for finding out his successor was even worse and the fact that we didn't get to kill him ourselves!!
  • In Free Space, we learn through an Apocalyptic Log that the Shivans killed off a species of Precursors (the Ancients) 8,000 years prior to the game. This log, written by the Ancients, paints them as victims of horrific destruction at the hands of the Shivans. It also, however, chronicles the rise of their empire, during which they met other advanced life, "And we subdued it, or we crushed it." In other words, the Ancients traveled around the galaxy enslaving and annihilating other species to expand their own powerbase. It's kinda hard to see the Shivans as the bad guys during that conflict.
    • The fan project Ancient-Shivan War, which covers this area of Freespace's history, portrays the Ancients as a very stuck-up warrior culture who consider all other forms of life automatically inferior and who glory in the genocide of a less advanced species early in the game. Fans are somewhat mollified by knowing exactly what's going to happen to the Ancients in later installments.
  • Carla Boone in Fallout: New Vegas, who made no secret of hating the town of Novac; even a character who's sympathetic towards her (and doesn't think she just left town) admits she had a habit of complaining about everything. The culprit (who sold her into slavery, which led to her death) is Novac's resident Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, who is deeply invested in her "little oasis."
    • In what may be a subversion, it is commented both in-game and in the fandom that while Carla may have been an unpleasant person, neither she nor her unborn baby deserved getting sold to slavery.
    • The town of Nipton also qualifies. The town was destroyed by Caesar's Legion, but Vulpes Inculta describes it as a town of whores willing to sell each other out and didn't even bother to fight back. He's not lying. However, much like with Carla Boone, many characters feel that as bad as Nipton was, it did not deserve what Caesar's Legion did to it
    • Then there's Benny the guy who shot the courier and buried him/her. He dies either in two ways. One you hunt him down for Mr. House. Or he is captured by Caesar and you get to choose how to kill him.
    • The Great Khans tribe qualifies as well. On the one hand, a rather severe foul-up on the NCR's part led to a massacre that saw the Khans getting absolutely devastated; years later they still haven't recovered. On the other hand, the Khans were openly hostile to the NCR long before the event in question, and not terribly nice even amongst each other. Their leader outright brags about how they laid ruin to defenseless NCR settlements, and a former Khan that later defected to the NCR will angrily comment that the group got exactly what was coming to them.
  • In Heavy Rain, at one point the story hits this point. Ethan is forced to go kill a man in order to find a clue to his son. The victim is a drug dealer who chases Ethan around the apartment with a shotgun until they reach the daughters room and the victim runs out of ammo. To make the choice a slightly difficult one however, at the last minute he reveals he has two daughters and begs Ethan not to shoot, however he has already chased Ethan around like a jerk and revealed his occupation.
    • The same happens to the owner of the Blue Lagoon who turns out to be a pervert and a rapist, but is shot by the Origami Killer.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: the first target for the Dark Brotherhood assassin's guild is a cruel orphan matron, when you first enter the orphanage, you find her threatening to beat them if they don't step up their chores, telling them they're her slaves until they come of age and she can kick them out, and that if they think of escaping like Aretino (the orphan who called the hit on her) she'll make them suffer for it. She then ends off by making the children force themselves to say that they love her. If you forgo silence and just decide to kill her in view of the orphans, they cheer.
    • And then the initiation ritual has you kill a barbarian with a hidden Blood Knight streak, a feisty and crass woman who has murdered people with her foul words and temper and a Complete Monster Khajit (Thief, murderer and rapist) who expects this to be his death. With a broader definition of "asshole", you can also kill the Dark Brotherhood assassin who brought you there.
    • Nearly all of the people the Thieves Guild sends you after are this. Examples including an oppressive, penny pinching beekeeper, a slave driving meadery owner, an Argonian con artist, and the man who betrayed and murdered the original guildmaster. Though in the case of the Con Artist, he just agrees to work with Guild and becomes a fence for you.
  • Strange Journey gives us Jack's Squad. Absurdly amoral assholes who happily jump into Mad Scientist Complete Monster territory, Jack's Squad is used to deconstruct the idea of Brainwashing for the Greater Good. Even as Holier Than Thou zombies, they're still idiot jerks.
  • The comment under Tabletop Games for "dungeons" applies to numerous video games as well. For example, in The Elder Scrolls series, if you see a small cavern complex, you can rest assured that at least nine times in ten it will be full of Necromancers of Conjurers or the undead or other perfectly acceptable targets you may ruthlessly cut down without a single ding to the Karma Meter. You can then with no guilt grab everything in the place and haul it back to the nearest marketplace. The remaining one time in ten you will speak with the inhabitants. Half the time, you will put them all to the sword because someone told you to, then take their stuff and sell it.


Visual Novels Edit

  • The Ace Attorney games like this trope. At least one victim in each game was pretty explicitly Not A Nice Person--many of them are criminals themselves.
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (the first game):
      • The victim in the third case turned out to have been intentionally trying to frame your client, Will Powers, one of the nicest characters in the series, out of jealousy, by drugging him and stealing his costume. The real killer acted in self-defense, though they wouldn't have needed to if they hadn't been blackmailing him in the first place.
      • The fourth case's victim was a defense attorney who sought to get not guilty verdicts even if it meant harm to his clients, and was killed by one of said clients who had been genuinely innocent but had his entire life destroyed as a result of the false insanity plea.
      • While not the victim of a standard homicide, Joe Darke of the fifth case could be considered an Asshole Victim. After killing around five people, he was executed based mainly on faked evidence that made it look like he had killed a sixth person.
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All (the second game):
      • The second case's victim, Turner Grey, was a real Dr. Jerk killed by a former employee who alleged he had drugged her, causing her to crash her car and kill her little sister. (Whether he actually did drug her is somewhat unclear, but being one of the few victims met before their demise, his Jerkass persona is well-evident.)
      • Juan Corrida of the fourth case initially seems like a nice guy, but it becomes increasingly evident that the feud between himself and Matt Engarde was an ugly reflection on both of them, and often wound up with other people in the crosshairs: most notably, when Juan found out his fiancee had once been an item with Matt, he called off their wedding and Celeste committed suicide. Her protege, Adrian Andrews, blamed them both for her mentor's death.
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations:
      • The first case's victim, Doug Swallow, is a subversion: Although he's Dahlia's ex and Phoenix refers to him as a "stuck-up British wannabe", in truth he was trying to give Phoenix a very important warning about his girlfriend.
      • Kane Bullard from the second case counts, for being a greedy Corrupt Corporate Executive and blackmailing Luke Atmey.
      • In the fourth case, the victim is Valerie Hawthorne, a police officer who helped engineer a fake murder/kidnapping that ended with her and her sister in possession of a small fortune stolen from their father, and their co-conspirator sentenced to death for a crime that had not been committed. The twist is that she was killed because had she finally decided to come clean about everything, and the murderer stood to lose everything from her attack of conscience. Sad case all around.
    • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney:
      • The first case's victim, Shadi Smith, is a bit of a complicated case, as his real identity (and the motive of his murderer) isn't clear until the very end. However, even before that it's made known that he was trying to rig a game of cards against the defendant, and when the plan failed he clocked his co-conspirator over the head with a bottle of grape juice.
      • The victim of the second case, Pal Meraktis, not only dealt with the criminal underworld and covered up a botched operation on Wocky, but he tried to kill Alita Tiala. He failed quite miserably, and she shot him instead.
    • In Ace Attorney Investigations Miles Edgeworth:
      • The third case initially appears to play this straight; Oliver Deacon/Colin Devorae is thought to have been an escaped felon who betrayed his accomplices in Lance Amano's kidnapping for the money, but it turns out that Lance threatened his daughter's safety to force him to falsely kidnap him, and that his previous "crimes" were Taking the Heat for Ernest Amano.
      • One of the victims of the fifth case, Manny Coachen, was a man who was heavily involved in an international smuggling ring and counterfeiting operation that almost destroyed another country's economy, and had gotten away with at least one murder in his lifetime.
    • In Investigations 2:
      • The victim in the second case is actually the culprit from the first case--although later revelations make his death rather tragic in retrospect.
      • In the third case, the victim was an infamously greedy sculptor apparently Only in It For the Money, who forced his own son to kidnap the son of his former partner so that he could have an easier time betraying and blackmailing him, which... did not go as he had planned. The killer himself also became a victim in the case, albeit nonfatally.
      • Then, in the final case, the victim (who had been met way back in the first case) turns out to have been much more assholish than had been initially suspected--he was in fact a former body double for the head of state who had arranged the man's assassination, taken his place, fabricated his own kidnapping to defraud the country of millions and killed or tried to kill anyone who could have exposed his real identity. By comparison the game's actual Big Bad comes off as downright sympathetic, who would probably have been seen as justified if he hadn't jumped off the slippery slope while fighting the monsters who had terrorized him for most of his life.
  • In Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors, Ace/Hongou was the head of a corrupt corporation and recreated the Nonary Game for experimentation into Morphogenetic Fields. The Ninth Man, who is betrayed by Ace and explodes rather nastily, was Kubota, was in charge of R on the Nonary Project. Nijisaki asd Musashidou were other members, killed by Ace to keep his identity secret. It just makes his Karmic Death in the "Safe" ending so much more fulfilling.
  • Matou Shinji in Fate/stay night, Heaven's Feel route. Considering that this is the Complete Monster who RAPED his SISTER for years, treats his Servant like a dog even when she remains unflinchingly loyal to him and tried to RAPE Rin when she was tied up and unable to resist, nobody is exactly shedding any tears for him when he kicks the bucket courtesy of a stab through the chest by the very sister he was again attempting to rape.
    • And if you wanted his anime counterpart dead too, don't worry. That happens too.
  • The victim in the Murder Mystery Visual Novel Jisei was working with her company to steal information from a rival corporation, but decided to doublecross her employer in favor of a third party that offered her more money.
  • Rina Mamiya from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is this in one arc. She tries to kill Rena, so Rena kills her. Even if she was a Jerkass Gold Digger, it's horrifying when Rena kills her in the manga. She's crying, begging, bleeding, in pain... In the anime, her death is very quick though.


Web Comics Edit

  • Something Positive has the completely evil Avagadro Pompey, who actually did die of natural causes, although nobody believes Kharisma when she said that, although she really was trying to kill him, all her murder attempts failed.
  • Head Trip runs on these instead of fuel. Including the only constructive criticism certain shows may deserve: "BLAM!". Or, a javelin.
  • Drowtales has several examples, one being Miir'kin Vel'Vlozress, who by all counts was a pretty big jerk, even attempting to murder the protagonist in cold blood, but the way he goes out is still pretty gruesome. Then there's Rikshakar, who gets killed by a demon in a Curb Stomp Battle, but this was just after he'd tried to rape a little girl after kidnapping her (though he did try to force her to shape-shift into a more mature form first, meaning he's not necessarily a pedophile, but still a jerk).
  • In Kevin and Kell, many of the prey species (and occasionally, predators) that get themselves eaten are often established as jerks, and often die as a result of their transgressions. For example, one Jerry Springer parody character tries to get Kell to eat Kevin by bringing up his online affair, but when it turns out to be with her, and he persists in trying to provoke her, she eats him.
  • This Xkcd.
  • Many of the clientele in Suicide for Hire fall into this category, particularly Ty Montlet and the guy from the mall.
  • Dominic Deegan has Jerk Jock Brett Taggarty and Smug Snake Serk Brakkis who met a grisly gory death at the powerful magic of Celesto Morgan. And with good reason, too: Brett was a drunken misogynist, a bully, assaulted a nurse and the titular hero's younger brother, Gregory. Serk Brakkis, on the other hand, tried to force the people living in the devastated town of Barthis to sell their property to him to make a stadium for the deceased Taggarty, owns five dummy companies and the Slaughterball team Taggarty was in, the local newspaper for smear campaigns against Gregory and Donovan, as well as plotted the murders of several people including Dominic AND Celesto.
  • In Freak Angels, Luke is caught raping a woman he's placed under Mind Control, a firefight breaks out, and he's finally shot and killed. Repeatedly. It doesn't stick.
  • In Spacetrawler the Eebs, the oppressed Slave Race that the protagonists are trying to free, used to be one of the most dangerous and violent species in the galaxy; the only reason they didn't terrorize other planets was because they were too lazy.
  • Mr. Gonyer, the insurance agent from the LJ sample chapter of Fishbones, who won't give coverage to a family man for his wife's breast cancer treatment because it's "too experimental."


Western Animation Edit

  • Although he survived, the shooting of Mr. Burns on The Simpsons qualifies -- they took an entire episode generating an improbable circumstance in which literally every character in the show had a motive to kill him. Then it turned out it was the baby -- who he was stealing candy from at the time.
  • Darkwing Duck has Doctors Gary and Larson killed by being covered in plants. Considering the fact that they bullied Bushroot, they really are assholes.
  • Batman the Animated Series has an example in the episode "Heart of Ice", the origin episode of Mr. Freeze. On the outside, CEO Ferris Boyle of GothCorp seems like a pretty decent fellow, even gaining an award for being the "Humanitarian of the Year". But this couldn't be further from the truth. Not only did Boyle nearly kill Nora Fries by stopping her husband from freezing her until a cure could be found for her terminal illness but he ruins Victor's life forever by kicking him into a table full of chemicals, freezing him and forcing him to live in a subzero environment to survive. Even Batman is horrified by Boyle's callousness and leaves him frozen from the waist down, while saying in disgust "Good night, Humanitarian."
  • Jokey Smurf, the resident Jerkass prankster, accidentally became this in The Smurfs episode "The Kaplowey Scroll" when he made Grouchy angry enough to say the word "kaplowey" which made Jokey disappear. Fortunately, Papa Smurf reversed that.
  • In Futurama when Bender is turned into a "werecar", his first victims are two vandals. It gets Subverted when after smashing up a car and talking about smashing faces; one of them mentions they're both going to church the next morning.
  • He doesn't die, but Nelson Nash of Batman Beyond is a pretty good example. In one episode, he gets attacked by a classmate with Psychic Powers, leading to the following exchange between Bruce and Terry:

 Bruce: "And is there anyone who held a grudge against this Nelson Nash kid?"

Terry: "Starts with me and goes around the block - twice."

  • In Ben 10: Alien Force, Kevin averts Save the Villain by leaving his nemesis Ragnarok fall in the Sun. Considering the guy was an Omnicidal Maniac who killed his father from cold blood and attempted to destroy Earth's sun for the sake of selling its energy, it's hard to blame Kevin for this act.
    • And again in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Kevin, after turning psychotic again, goes on a Roaring Rampage Of Vengeance against several people, including Prison Director Morgg. While he fails to kill him, he still scares the crap of him, and most fans wouldn't have minded if he had succeeded, seeing as Morgg was a corrupted Complete Monster who hated and killed on of the prisonners for acting like The Mentor to other prisonners, and later developped an alien drug traffic in the prison using the prisonners as labour slaves. Some fans even actually blamed Ben for saving this guy.

Notes

  1. "Now, let's count up your crimes."

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