History Main / JustFollowingOrders

20th Jan '17 3:47:55 PM StarSword
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** "The Pegasus":

to:

** "The Pegasus":Pegasus": Riker defended then-Captain Pressman of USS ''Pegasus'' when the crew mutinied over an illegal order. However, during the episode, he uses this trope to ''castigate'' himself; when Pressman gives another illegal order, Picard and crew refuse it and arrest him.



** {{Averted}}. Dr. Franklin is ordered to turn over his notes on Minbari DNA so that the military can create a biological weapon. He refuses, stating that under military law he has no duty to obey an order if it would violate his conscience.
** Played straight in ''Intersections in Real Time''. Sheridan's interrogator never uses the exact words, but it's clear that it's how he reconciles what he's doing.

to:

** {{Averted}}.{{Averted}} in the backstory. Dr. Franklin is was ordered to turn over his notes on Minbari DNA so that the military can create a biological weapon. He refuses, refused and destroyed the data, stating that under military law he has no duty to obey an order if it would violate his conscience.
** {{Discussed}} in "No Surrender, No Retreat". During the operation to break President Clark's blockade of the rebellious colony Proxima III, Sheridan orders the four opposing destroyers to stand down on grounds that their orders from Clark violate Earth Alliance law, and that any action they take in service to an illegal order makes them accomplices. After some discussion, one captain who instructed Sheridan at MilitaryAcademy agrees and convinces another ship to follow suit. However, the leader of the squadron attacks, saying "I'm dead either way"[[note]]i.e. Sheridan will kill him if he doesn't surrender, and Clark will kill him if he does[[/note]] and is ultimately removed from command by his first officer, while the fourth ship is destroyed.
**
Played straight in ''Intersections "Intersections in Real Time''.Time". Sheridan's interrogator never uses the exact words, but it's clear that it's how he reconciles what he's doing.
20th Dec '16 5:45:24 PM SteveMB
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* In the ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' episode "Flashpoint", Captain Atom is ordered by his Air Force superiors to keep Superman and Huntress from taking the Question from the Cadmus facility where he was being held. He even justifies his action to Superman by saying that he has his orders, "legal and proper." He ignores the obvious signs of torture on the Question's body, clear evidence that Atom's orders were ''not'' legal and that his military oaths actually require him to refuse those orders (see "Real Life," below).

to:

* ''[[WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited Justice League/Justice League Unlimited]]:''
**
In "The Enemy Below", one of Orm's followers tried to offer the ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' episode "just following orders" excuse to Aquaman. He was not impressed.
** In
"Flashpoint", Captain Atom is ordered by his Air Force superiors to keep Superman and Huntress from taking the Question from the Cadmus facility where he was being held. He even justifies his action to Superman by saying that he has his orders, "legal and proper." He ignores the obvious signs of torture on the Question's body, clear evidence that Atom's orders were ''not'' legal and that his military oaths actually require him to refuse those orders (see "Real Life," below).
28th Nov '16 6:48:30 PM TheUnknownUploader
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Added DiffLines:

* ''Film/TheProducers'': Franz Liebkind greets people this way.
-->'''Franz''': [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial I was never a part of ze Nazi Party!]] I vas not responsible! I vas only following orders! ''Vhy do you persecute me?!''
15th Nov '16 1:16:45 PM Morgenthaler
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* In ''Film/StarshipTroopers2HeroOfTheFederation'', [[ColonelBadass Colonel Dax]] levels a pretty powerful ReasonYouSuckSpeech on [[ThePoliticalOfficer Lt. Dill]] after he uses this excuse.

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* In ''Film/StarshipTroopers2HeroOfTheFederation'', [[ColonelBadass Colonel Dax]] Captain Dax levels a pretty powerful ReasonYouSuckSpeech on [[ThePoliticalOfficer Lt. Dill]] after he uses this excuse.
15th Nov '16 1:15:55 PM Morgenthaler
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* In ''Film/StarshipTroopers2HeroOfTheFederation'', [[{{Badass}} Dax]] levels a pretty powerful ReasonYouSuckSpeech on [[ThePoliticalOfficer Lt. Dill]] after he uses this excuse.

to:

* In ''Film/StarshipTroopers2HeroOfTheFederation'', [[{{Badass}} [[ColonelBadass Colonel Dax]] levels a pretty powerful ReasonYouSuckSpeech on [[ThePoliticalOfficer Lt. Dill]] after he uses this excuse.
13th Nov '16 3:00:47 PM StFan
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Just Following Orders is a justification for morally questionable actions that a character may invoke when questioned about the rightness or necessity of such actions. This justification holds that the (bulk of the) responsibility for such actions falls upon those who make such decisions and give such orders within a (military) hierarchy; by extension, those who obey and act upon such orders cannot be held (entirely) accountable for their actions. Often invoked with the [[StockPhrase exact phrase]] "I was [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Just Following Orders]]." Also known as the "Nuremberg Defense" because a notable flaw of the immediate post-war German penal code was that the worst category of murder and its attendant sentences ('first-degree murder') could only be 'for base motives' (hatred, bloodlust, greed, etc), [[LoopholeAbuse which did not include 'dispassionate' participation in]] [[UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust mass murder]] [[note]] This was subject to an ObviousRulePatch later on. Modern laws tend to distinguish between 'degrees' of murder according to prior intent/planning instead, with one's emotional or rational reasons for the murder(s) taking a back-seat. Indeed, Common Law does not distinguish between types of murder at all (though the motivations do of course affect the sentencing) [[/note]]. Perpetrator testimony and the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment Milgram Experiment]][[note]] More specifically, the series of experiments in which the test subject operated alongside two other 'test subjects' (actors) and in the absence of supervision from the 'scientist' running the experiment. Interestingly, the very best results in compliance (near-total) were reached in the series where the test subjects were asked to perform tasks which only 'enabled' the shocks to be administered, such as setting the dial on the shock machine to a level indicated by the 'scientist' [[/note]] indicate that even when the desire to conform with the group is a major or primary reason for someone carrying out an immoral group action, they almost always [[InvokedTrope frame their compliance in terms of obedience to authority]]. They believed that obedience to authority at least partly justified or excused immoral behaviour, and that desire to conform did not.

Accordingly Just Following Orders is the StockPhrase motto/mantra/defense of the PunchClockVillain, as well as most bureaucrats ([[ObstructiveBureaucrat obstructive]] or otherwise), {{Mooks}}, and just about anyone during failures of nerve, job security, heroic fortitude...

to:

Just Following Orders is a justification for morally questionable actions that a character may invoke when questioned about the rightness or necessity of such actions. This justification holds that the (bulk of the) responsibility for such actions falls upon those who make such decisions and give such orders within a (military) hierarchy; by extension, those who obey and act upon such orders cannot be held (entirely) accountable for their actions. Often invoked with the [[StockPhrase exact phrase]] "I was [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Just Following Orders]]." Also known as the "Nuremberg Defense" because a notable flaw of the immediate post-war German penal code was that the worst category of murder and its attendant sentences ('first-degree murder') ("first-degree murder") could only be 'for "for base motives' motives" (hatred, bloodlust, greed, etc), etc.), [[LoopholeAbuse which did not include 'dispassionate' "dispassionate" participation in]] [[UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust mass murder]] [[note]] This [[note]]This was subject to an ObviousRulePatch later on. Modern laws tend to distinguish between 'degrees' "degrees" of murder according to prior intent/planning instead, with one's emotional or rational reasons for the murder(s) taking a back-seat. Indeed, Common Law does not distinguish between types of murder at all (though the motivations do of course affect the sentencing) [[/note]].sentencing)[[/note]]. Perpetrator testimony and the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment Milgram Experiment]][[note]] More specifically, the series of experiments in which the test subject operated alongside two other 'test subjects' "test subjects" (actors) and in the absence of supervision from the 'scientist' running the experiment. Interestingly, the very best results in compliance (near-total) were reached in the series where the test subjects were asked to perform tasks which only 'enabled' "enabled" the shocks to be administered, such as setting the dial on the shock machine to a level indicated by the 'scientist' "scientist" [[/note]] indicate that even when the desire to conform with the group is a major or primary reason for someone carrying out an immoral group action, they almost always [[InvokedTrope frame their compliance in terms of obedience to authority]]. They believed that obedience to authority at least partly justified or excused immoral behaviour, behavior, and that desire to conform did not.

Accordingly Accordingly, Just Following Orders is the StockPhrase motto/mantra/defense of the PunchClockVillain, as well as most bureaucrats ([[ObstructiveBureaucrat obstructive]] or otherwise), {{Mooks}}, and just about anyone during failures of nerve, job security, heroic fortitude...



[[folder: Anime & Manga]]

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[[folder: Anime [[folder:Anime & Manga]]



** In episode 52, after a [[SuperpoweredEvilSide fully-demonized Inuyasha]] kills Gatenmaru and starts slaughtering his way through his [[HumansAreBastards human henchmen]], some of said bandits attempt to save themselves by insisting they were just following Gatenmaru's orders. Unfortunately ([[KickTheSonOfABitch for them]]), Inuyasha is too far gone to give a crap.

to:

** In episode 52, after a [[SuperpoweredEvilSide fully-demonized Inuyasha]] Inu-Yasha]] kills Gatenmaru and starts slaughtering his way through his [[HumansAreBastards human henchmen]], some of said bandits attempt to save themselves by insisting they were just following Gatenmaru's orders. Unfortunately ([[KickTheSonOfABitch for them]]), Inuyasha Inu-Yasha is too far gone to give a crap.



-->'''Shu''': You can't do this! This is not right!
-->'''Nabuca''': Never mind right or wrong! An order is an order!

to:

-->'''Shu''': -->'''Shu:''' You can't do this! This is not right!
-->'''Nabuca''':
right!\\
'''Nabuca:'''
Never mind right or wrong! An order is an order!



[[folder:Comics]]

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[[folder:Comics]][[folder:Comic Books]]



-->'''[[{{Mook}} Big Nameless Shinto Monster]]''': "You must choose, and I must enact your fate."
-->'''Lucifer''': Fate's a ''slippery'' sort of concept, though, isn't it. I mean, most of the time it's just an excuse for doing what you ''want'' to do anyway." (Empties kettle of molten lead over Shinto Monster).
-->'''Big Nameless Shinto Monster''': Nuuuh! It burns! It BURNS!
-->'''Lucifer''': Well, that's what happens when you play with fire. Here we are. The red stone, I think you said."

to:

-->'''[[{{Mook}} Big Nameless Shinto Monster]]''': "You Monster]]:''' You must choose, and I must enact your fate."
-->'''Lucifer''':
\\
'''Lucifer:'''
Fate's a ''slippery'' sort of concept, though, isn't it. I mean, most of the time it's just an excuse for doing what you ''want'' to do anyway." (Empties ''[empties kettle of molten lead over Shinto Monster).
-->'''Big
Monster]''\\
'''Big
Nameless Shinto Monster''': Monster:''' Nuuuh! It burns! It BURNS!
-->'''Lucifer''':
BURNS!\\
'''Lucifer:'''
Well, that's what happens when you play with fire. Here we are. The red stone, I think you said."



[[folder:Documentary]]
* ''Gunner Palace'':
-->'''SPC Devon Dixon''': [feeling bad about killing] I'm not doin' the wrong thing, I'm just following orders, so I'd rather it not be me. So, I had to, you know, I [[ItGetsEasier learned to live with it]].
[[/folder]]



[[folder:Films -- Animated]]

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[[folder:Films -- Animated]]Animation]]



--> [[spoiler: '''Kaufman:''']] [[AintTooProudToBeg Wait! I'm just a professional doing a job!]]
--> '''Bond:''' [[PreMortemOneLiner So am I.]]
--> ''gunshot''

to:

--> [[spoiler: '''Kaufman:''']] -->[[spoiler:'''Kaufman:''']] [[AintTooProudToBeg Wait! I'm just a professional doing a job!]]
-->
job!]]\\
'''Bond:''' [[PreMortemOneLiner So am I.]]
--> ''gunshot''
]]\\
''[gunshot]''



-->'''Mr. Marcus''': We're here in Customs and I have a job to do.
-->'''Frances''': We're [[LampshadeHanging just following orders]], are we? Asshole.

to:

-->'''Mr. Marcus''': Marcus:''' We're here in Customs and I have a job to do.
-->'''Frances''':
do.\\
'''Frances:'''
We're [[LampshadeHanging just following orders]], are we? Asshole.



-->'''Cargomaster''': I'm following orders here. It's my job to take these criminals and thieves to the coast.
* ''Film/TheCrazies'': The soldiers go on a killing spree against civilians because that's what they were told to do to contain the virus.
** On a more positive note, in the remake the sheriff's deputy is revealed late in the movie to have caught the virus. Why didn't he go off the rails? Because the sheriff ordered him not to go crazy.

to:

-->'''Cargomaster''': -->'''Cargomaster:''' I'm following orders here. It's my job to take these criminals and thieves to the coast.
* ''Film/TheCrazies'': The soldiers go on a killing spree against civilians because that's what they were told to do to contain the virus.
**
virus. On a more positive note, in the remake the sheriff's deputy is revealed late in the movie to have caught the virus. Why didn't he go off the rails? Because the sheriff ordered him not to go crazy.



-->'''Sam Daniels''': If you think I'm lying, drop the bomb. If you think I'm crazy, drop the bomb. But don't drop the bomb just because you're following orders!

to:

-->'''Sam Daniels''': Daniels:''' If you think I'm lying, drop the bomb. If you think I'm crazy, drop the bomb. But don't drop the bomb just because you're following orders!



--> '''Blake:''' You assholes! You just killed us all!
--> '''Guard:''' We're just following orders!

to:

--> '''Blake:''' -->'''Blake:''' You assholes! You just killed us all!
-->
all!\\
'''Guard:''' We're just following orders!



* In ''Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness'', Kirk tries to give this excuse on behalf of his crew to prevent [[spoiler: Marcus]] from killing them. Unfortunately, he didn't intend to let them live anyway.
** In the [[Film/StarTrek previous film]] Kirk actually uses this trope to justify his blatant disobedience of said orders. Specifically, when Captain Pike leaves the ''Enterprise'' to board the ''Narada'' he leaves orders for the crew to "come get him". Most likely, he did NOT mean for Kirk to disobey Acting-Captain Spock, attempt a mutiny, provoke Spock into resigning command, and disregard Starfleet regulations by taking on the absurdly powerful Romulan ship alone. This being James T. Kirk, of course it works, and as Kirk is freeing Pike, Pike asks "What are you doing here?" "Just following orders," says Kirk with a grin.
*** By the next movie, Kirk's "creative" interpretation of the rules to justify his ignorance of them catches up to him and he's (temporarily) demoted.
* Creator/JohnFord's final western ''CheyenneAutumn'' has a German accented military officer who claims to like the Cheyenne people but unfortunately has to follow orders and keep them locked up in appalling conditions with no food and water and a group that includes women and children too. This over the objections of several token good team-mates and OnlySaneMan officer. When the Cheyenne rebel violently, and the officer looks at the carnage, the officer rubs it in:
--> ''"Have orders been sufficiently followed, sir?"''

to:

* In ''Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness'', Kirk tries to give this excuse on behalf of his crew to prevent [[spoiler: Marcus]] from killing them. Unfortunately, he didn't intend to let them live anyway.
''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** In the [[Film/StarTrek previous film]] ''Film/StarTrek'' (2009), Kirk actually uses this trope to justify his blatant disobedience of said orders. Specifically, when Captain Pike leaves the ''Enterprise'' to board the ''Narada'' he leaves orders for the crew to "come get him". Most likely, he did NOT mean for Kirk to disobey Acting-Captain Spock, attempt a mutiny, provoke Spock into resigning command, and disregard Starfleet regulations by taking on the absurdly powerful Romulan ship alone. This being James T. Kirk, of course it works, and as Kirk is freeing Pike, Pike asks "What are you doing here?" "Just following orders," says Kirk with a grin.
*** By the next movie, ** In ''Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness'', Kirk tries to give this excuse on behalf of his crew to prevent [[spoiler: Marcus]] from killing them. Unfortunately, he didn't intend to let them live anyway. Kirk's "creative" interpretation of the rules to justify his ignorance of them catches up to him and he's (temporarily) demoted.
* Creator/JohnFord's final western ''CheyenneAutumn'' ''Film/CheyenneAutumn'' has a German accented German-accented military officer who claims to like the Cheyenne people but unfortunately has to follow orders and keep them locked up in appalling conditions with no food and water and a group that includes women and children too. This over the objections of several token good team-mates and OnlySaneMan officer. When the Cheyenne rebel violently, and the officer looks at the carnage, the officer rubs it in:
--> ''"Have -->'''Officer:''' Have orders been sufficiently followed, sir?"''sir?



* According to one tale, a sick [[UsefulNotes/NepaliWithNastyKnives Gurkha]] was lying on a hospital bed, dying, so a British officer walked up to him and sternly told him 'don't die'. At that, the Gurkha recovered. After all, Gurkhas follow orders.

to:

* According to one tale, a sick [[UsefulNotes/NepaliWithNastyKnives Gurkha]] was lying on a hospital bed, dying, so a British officer walked up to him and sternly told him 'don't die'."don't die". At that, the Gurkha recovered. After all, Gurkhas follow orders.



* From ''Literature/GoodOmens'', the [[spoiler:mostly]] good Aziraphale and the demon Crowley discuss [[NotSoDifferent their bad feelings]] about the coming [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt end of the world]]:
-->'It's not that I disagree with you,' said the angel, as they plodded across the grass. 'It's just that I'm not allowed to disobey. You know that.'
-->'Me too,' said Crowley.
-->Aziraphale gave him a sidelong glance. 'Oh, come now,' he said, 'you're a demon, after all.'
-->'Yeah. But my people are only in favour of disobedience in general terms. It's ''specific'' disobedience they come down on heavily.'
-->'Such as disobedience to themselves?'
-->'You've got it. You'd be amazed. Or perhaps you wouldn't be.'

to:

* From ''Literature/GoodOmens'', the ''Literature/GoodOmens'':
** The
[[spoiler:mostly]] good Aziraphale and the demon Crowley discuss [[NotSoDifferent their bad feelings]] about the coming [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt end of the world]]:
-->'It's --->"It's not that I disagree with you,' you," said the angel, as they plodded across the grass. 'It's "It's just that I'm not allowed to disobey. You know that.'
-->'Me too,'
"\\
"Me too,"
said Crowley.
-->Aziraphale
Crowley.\\
Aziraphale
gave him a sidelong glance. 'Oh, "Oh, come now,' now," he said, 'you're "you're a demon, after all.'
-->'Yeah.
"\\
"Yeah.
But my people are only in favour of disobedience in general terms. It's ''specific'' disobedience they come down on heavily.'
-->'Such
"\\
"Such
as disobedience to themselves?'
-->'You've
themselves?"\\
"You've
got it. You'd be amazed. Or perhaps you wouldn't be.'"



-->'All right. All right. I don't like it any more than you, but I told you. I can't disod- disoy - not do what I'm told. 'M'a'nangel.'

to:

-->'All --->"All right. All right. I don't like it any more than you, but I told you. I can't disod- disoy - disod--disoy--- not do what I'm told. 'M'a'nangel.'"



-->'''Orac:''' I am obliged to do as you tell me, even though I know it to be wrong.
-->'''Kerr Avon:''' Only following orders? That's not very original, Orac.

to:

-->'''Orac:''' --->'''Orac:''' I am obliged to do as you tell me, even though I know it to be wrong.
-->'''Kerr
wrong.\\
'''Kerr
Avon:''' Only following orders? That's not very original, Orac.



-->'''Shrinker''': Why me? I haven't done anything. I've only ever--
-->'''Tarrant''': Oh, don't tell me, let me guess. You've only ever followed orders.
*** Shortly followed with this exchange:
--->'''Avon''': Look, Cally, I know you don't want any part of this. All right, I'm not going to give you any part of it. You're out. This is mine. I'm doing it.
--->'''Cally''': And what am I doing, Avon? Just following orders, like him?

to:

-->'''Shrinker''': --->'''Shrinker:''' Why me? I haven't done anything. I've only ever--
-->'''Tarrant''':
ever--\\
'''Tarrant:'''
Oh, don't tell me, let me guess. You've only ever followed orders.
*** ** Shortly followed with this exchange:
--->'''Avon''': --->'''Avon:''' Look, Cally, I know you don't want any part of this. All right, I'm not going to give you any part of it. You're out. This is mine. I'm doing it. \n--->'''Cally''': \\
'''Cally:'''
And what am I doing, Avon? Just following orders, like him?



-->'''Elle Bishop''': I only saved you so we could use you, like a lab rat.
-->'''Sylar''': You were just following orders... But I forgive you. Now you need to forgive yourself.

to:

-->'''Elle Bishop''': Bishop:''' I only saved you so we could use you, like a lab rat.
-->'''Sylar''':
rat.\\
'''Sylar:'''
You were just following orders... But I forgive you. Now you need to forgive yourself.



-->'''Beata Lindermann''': I'm just following orders!
-->'''Joseph Byrne''': Mmm, they tried that in Nuremberg, it didn't work.

to:

-->'''Beata Lindermann''': Lindermann:''' I'm just following orders!
-->'''Joseph Byrne''':
orders!\\
'''Joseph Byrne:'''
Mmm, they tried that in Nuremberg, it didn't work.



-->'''Lincoln Burrows''': You wanted me dead, Paul.
-->'''Paul Kellerman''': Just following orders.

to:

-->'''Lincoln Burrows''': Burrows:''' You wanted me dead, Paul.
-->'''Paul Kellerman''':
Paul.\\
'''Paul Kellerman:'''
Just following orders.



* Another documentary, ''Gunner Palace'':
-->'''SPC Devon Dixon:''' ''[feeling bad about killing]'' I'm not doin' the wrong thing, I'm just following orders, so I'd rather it not be me. So, I had to, you know, I [[ItGetsEasier learned to live with it]].



--->'''Data''': Captain, I wish to submit myself for disciplinary action. I have disobeyed a direct order from a superior officer. Although the result of my actions proved positive, the ends cannot justify the means.
--->'''Captain Picard''': No, they can't. However, the claim "I was only following orders" has been used to justify too many tragedies in our history. Starfleet doesn't want officers who will blindly follow orders without analyzing the situation. Your actions were appropriate for the circumstances.

to:

--->'''Data''': --->'''Data:''' Captain, I wish to submit myself for disciplinary action. I have disobeyed a direct order from a superior officer. Although the result of my actions proved positive, the ends cannot justify the means.
--->'''Captain Picard''':
means.\\
'''Captain Picard:'''
No, they can't. However, the claim "I was only following orders" has been used to justify too many tragedies in our history. Starfleet doesn't want officers who will blindly follow orders without analyzing the situation. Your actions were appropriate for the circumstances.



--->'''Commander Riker''': I wasn't a hero, and [[BrokenPedestal neither were you]]! What you did was wrong. And I was wrong to support you, but I was too young and too stupid to realize it! You were the captain, I was the ensign. I was just following orders.

to:

--->'''Commander Riker''': Riker:''' I wasn't a hero, and [[BrokenPedestal neither were you]]! What you did was wrong. And I was wrong to support you, but I was too young and too stupid to realize it! You were the captain, I was the ensign. I was just following orders.



--->'''Picard''': I feel as though I've been handed a weapon, sent into a room and told to shoot a stranger. Well, I need some moral context to justify that action, and I don't have it. I'm not content simply to obey orders. I need to know that what I am doing is right.

to:

--->'''Picard''': --->'''Picard:''' I feel as though I've been handed a weapon, sent into a room and told to shoot a stranger. Well, I need some moral context to justify that action, and I don't have it. I'm not content simply to obey orders. I need to know that what I am doing is right.



-->'''Captain Kathryn Janeway''': I'm putting an end to your experiments, and you are hereby relieved of your command. You and your crew will be confined to quarters.
-->'''Captain Ransom''': Please, show them leniency. They were only following my orders.
-->'''Janeway''': ''Their mistake.''

to:

-->'''Captain Kathryn Janeway''': Janeway:''' I'm putting an end to your experiments, and you are hereby relieved of your command. You and your crew will be confined to quarters.
-->'''Captain Ransom''':
quarters.\\
'''Captain Ransom:'''
Please, show them leniency. They were only following my orders.
-->'''Janeway''':
orders.\\
'''Janeway:'''
''Their mistake.''



-->'''Hugh Abbot''': Glenn, the special needs bill. With your particular interest, I... I can't do this.
-->'''Glenn Cullen''': You know my views, you know inclusion is an illusion, it doesn't work.
-->'''Hugh''': But you don't mind if I go ahead with it.
-->'''Glenn''': Of course not, look - you're only following orders.
-->'''Hugh''': Oh thanks. So you won't make me feel bad, except by comparing me to a concentration camp guard.
-->'''Glenn''': No, that's right.

to:

-->'''Hugh Abbot''': --->'''Hugh Abbot:''' Glenn, the special needs bill. With your particular interest, I... I can't do this.
-->'''Glenn Cullen''':
this.\\
'''Glenn Cullen:'''
You know my views, you know inclusion is an illusion, it doesn't work.
-->'''Hugh''':
work.\\
'''Hugh:'''
But you don't mind if I go ahead with it.
-->'''Glenn''':
it.\\
'''Glenn:'''
Of course not, look - -- you're only following orders.
-->'''Hugh''':
orders.\\
'''Hugh:'''
Oh thanks. So you won't make me feel bad, except by comparing me to a concentration camp guard.
-->'''Glenn''':
guard.\\
'''Glenn:'''
No, that's right.



--> "I'm Just Following Orders! Like a Nazi guard, [[DudeNotFunny only less gassy]]! [sheepish pause] You're not Jewish are you?"

to:

--> "I'm --->'''John Duggan:''' I'm Just Following Orders! Like a Nazi guard, [[DudeNotFunny only less gassy]]! [sheepish pause] ''[sheepish pause]'' You're not Jewish are you?"you?



-->'''Female Programmer''': If you're not holding us hostage, then open the door and let us out. The staff are terrified!\\
'''The Doctor''': That's the same staff who executes hundreds of contestants every day?\\
'''Female Programmer''': That's not our fault. We're just doing our jobs.\\
'''The Doctor''': And with that sentence, you just lost the right to even talk to me. Now back off!

to:

-->'''Female Programmer''': --->'''Female Programmer:''' If you're not holding us hostage, then open the door and let us out. The staff are terrified!\\
'''The Doctor''': Doctor:''' That's the same staff who executes hundreds of contestants every day?\\
'''Female Programmer''': Programmer:''' That's not our fault. We're just doing our jobs.\\
'''The Doctor''': Doctor:''' And with that sentence, you just lost the right to even talk to me. Now back off!



--> The human scientist was so naive, so sheltered that his version of the Nuremberg defence - the fact that he participated in the culling and testing of live subjects because that was what he was told to do and he knew no better - became strangely compelling. (...) seemed to lack commons sense, to believe whatever he was told.

to:

--> --->'''Fitz Kreiner:''' The human scientist was so naive, so sheltered that his version of the Nuremberg defence - -- the fact that he participated in the culling and testing of live subjects because that was what he was told to do and he knew no better - -- became strangely compelling. (...) seemed to lack commons sense, to believe whatever he was told.



* ''Series/{{V 1983}}'': Used by some humans to justify working for the visitors. One female reporter is called out on this, being told that the same excuse was used at the Nuremberg Trials.
* Invoked in ''Series/{{CSI}}, A Thousand Days On Earth'': during a murder investigation, Catherine uncovers that while their main suspect isn't guilty of the crime, he is hiding his past as a sex offender (turns out he's really a decent guy that made a stupid mistake, and is trying to start his life over). Upon learning this, she goes completely overboard and personally crucifies him by explicitly telling his fiancee of his sex offender registration, who then tells his boss and he is fired, and tries to make the evidence point to him as the criminal. Many members of her team continuously point this out, claiming she is not listening to how his alibi checks out or the fact that one sarcastically comments how it is fun to watch how she is just making the evidence fit her theory. In the end it was her actions alone that destroyed his life. Although cleared of the murder charge, the man's life is effectively ruined by the revelation.

to:

* ''Series/{{V 1983}}'': ''Series/{{V|1983}}'': Used by some humans to justify working for the visitors. One female reporter is called out on this, being told that the same excuse was used at the Nuremberg Trials.
* Invoked in ''Series/{{CSI}}, A ''Series/{{CSI}}'', "A Thousand Days On Earth'': on Earth": during a murder investigation, Catherine uncovers that while their main suspect isn't guilty of the crime, he is hiding his past as a sex offender (turns out he's really a decent guy that made a stupid mistake, and is trying to start his life over). Upon learning this, she goes completely overboard and personally crucifies him by explicitly telling his fiancee fiancée of his sex offender registration, who then tells his boss and he is fired, and tries to make the evidence point to him as the criminal. Many members of her team continuously point this out, claiming she is not listening to how his alibi checks out or the fact that one sarcastically comments how it is fun to watch how she is just making the evidence fit her theory. In the end it was her actions alone that destroyed his life. Although cleared of the murder charge, the man's life is effectively ruined by the revelation.



-->'''Centurion [[TheStoic Lucius Vorenus]]:''' Pullo, report to Princess Cleopatra and do whatever she tells you.
-->*Cue a prolonged bout of vigorous and noisy sex.*
-->'''Legionary [[BoisterousBruiser Titus Pullo]]:''' Gods, that was something, let me tell you.
-->'''Vorenus:''' I don't want to hear about it. If you're wise, [[LetUsNeverSpeakOfThisAgain you'll never speak of this again]].
-->'''Pullo:''' Why? I was only obeying orders. Bloody good orders, too.
* Annie Cartwright in ''Series/{{Life On Mars|2006}}'' uses this defence - not necessarily as an excuse but as an admission of complicity in the death of Billy Kemble - in this way in the penultimate episode of series 1.

to:

-->'''Centurion [[TheStoic Lucius Vorenus]]:''' Pullo, report to Princess Cleopatra and do whatever she tells you.
-->*Cue
you.\\
''[ce
a prolonged bout of vigorous and noisy sex.*
-->'''Legionary
sex]''\\
'''Legionary
[[BoisterousBruiser Titus Pullo]]:''' Gods, that was something, let me tell you.
-->'''Vorenus:'''
you.\\
'''Vorenus:'''
I don't want to hear about it. If you're wise, [[LetUsNeverSpeakOfThisAgain you'll never speak of this again]].
-->'''Pullo:'''
again]].\\
'''Pullo:'''
Why? I was only obeying orders. Bloody good orders, too.
* Annie Cartwright in ''Series/{{Life On on Mars|2006}}'' uses this defence - not necessarily as an excuse but as an admission of complicity in the death of Billy Kemble - -- in this way in the penultimate episode of series 1.



** Invoked in Episode 6 when Gwen confronts Dr. Patel about the [[spoiler:incineration of 'Category One' patients]]. Dr. Patel begins to protest, and Gwen interrupts her.
-->'''Gwen:''' Don't you dare. Don't you ''dare'' look at me and tell me you're obeying orders. Don't you bloody dare.

to:

** Invoked in Episode 6 when Gwen confronts Dr. Patel about the [[spoiler:incineration of 'Category One' "Category One" patients]]. Dr. Patel begins to protest, and Gwen interrupts her.
-->'''Gwen:''' --->'''Gwen:''' Don't you dare. Don't you ''dare'' look at me and tell me you're obeying orders. Don't you bloody dare.



--->'''Rex:''' They [[spoiler:built ovens]]! And you're the director, so you know that.
--->'''Maloney:''' Look, I'm not in charge of policy... we had instructions that got sent out nationwide, worldwide, and we had orders from above not to say anything. I just did as I was told.

to:

--->'''Rex:''' They [[spoiler:built ovens]]! And you're the director, so you know that.
--->'''Maloney:'''
that.\\
'''Maloney:'''
Look, I'm not in charge of policy... we had instructions that got sent out nationwide, worldwide, and we had orders from above not to say anything. I just did as I was told.



-->Teal'c, there are a lot things we do that we wish we could change and we sure as hell can't forget, but the whole concept of chain of command undermines the idea of free will. So as soldiers, we have to do some pretty awful stuff. But we're following orders like we were trained to. It doesn't make it easier; it certainly doesn't make it right, but it does put some of the responsibility on the guy giving those orders.
** Interestingly, Teal'c doesn't use this justification himself. He did a lot of awful things while in the service of the Goa'uld and he always takes full responsibility, even going so far as to willingly submit to execution in "Cor'ai."

to:

-->Teal'c, --->'''O'Neill:''' Teal'c, there are a lot things we do that we wish we could change and we sure as hell can't forget, but the whole concept of chain of command undermines the idea of free will. So as soldiers, we have to do some pretty awful stuff. But we're following orders like we were trained to. It doesn't make it easier; it certainly doesn't make it right, but it does put some of the responsibility on the guy giving those orders.
** Interestingly, Teal'c doesn't use this justification himself. He did a lot of awful things while in the service of the Goa'uld and he always takes full responsibility, even going so far as to willingly submit to execution in "Cor'ai.""Cor'ai".



--->'''Hammond''': ''These people's laws in this regard are no different from our own. We don't stop pursuing war criminals because they have a change of heart.''\\
'''O'Neill''': '''''War criminals.'''''\\
'''Hammond''': ''Yes, Colonel, he is. Like it or not, what the Jaffa have done to these people and thousands of other people is a '''crime.''' Now Teal'c spent many years serving the Goa'uld doing some '''damned''' distasteful things. Surely both of you must realize that this was bound to happen sooner or later.''\\
'''O'Neill''': ''General Hammond, '''I''' have spent a lot of years in the service of '''my''' country, and '''I''' have been ordered to do "some '''damned''' distasteful things."''
*** The audience [[LeftHanging never finds out]] how a USAF officer has no problem comparing his own classified service record to that of an alien commandant who has admitted to committing acts of ''genocide.''

to:

--->'''Hammond''': ''These --->'''Hammond:''' These people's laws in this regard are no different from our own. We don't stop pursuing war criminals because they have a change of heart.\\
'''O'Neill:''' ''War criminals.
''\\
'''O'Neill''': '''''War criminals.'''''\\
'''Hammond''': ''Yes,
'''Hammond:''' Yes, Colonel, he is. Like it or not, what the Jaffa have done to these people and thousands of other people is a '''crime.''' ''crime.'' Now Teal'c spent many years serving the Goa'uld doing some '''damned''' ''damned'' distasteful things. Surely both of you must realize that this was bound to happen sooner or later.''\\
'''O'Neill''': ''General
\\
'''O'Neill:''' General
Hammond, '''I''' have spent a lot of years in the service of '''my''' country, and '''I''' have been ordered to do "some '''damned''' distasteful things."''
*** The audience [[LeftHanging never finds out]] how a USAF officer has no problem comparing his own classified service record to that of an alien commandant who has admitted to committing acts of ''genocide.''



* An extraordinarily rare, non-villainous example in "Series/ParksAndRecreation" when [[spoiler: Chris prosecutes Leslie and Ben for their secret love affair. Chris, being Ben's best friend, obviously doesn't WANT to do it, but he must since Ben is Leslie's superior and it presents a violation of ethics.]]

to:

* An extraordinarily rare, non-villainous example in "Series/ParksAndRecreation" ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'' when [[spoiler: Chris prosecutes Leslie and Ben for their secret love affair. Chris, being Ben's best friend, obviously doesn't WANT to do it, but he must since Ben is Leslie's superior and it presents a violation of ethics.]]



* A subversion in the {{TabletopGame/Traveller}} volume ''Alien Races 4''. The Bwaps are a race whose hat is being {{BadassBureaucrat}}s. In one side story a Bwap starport official is processing incoming passengers. The Bwap stopped a mother and her baby, claiming a petty technicality and caused the whole line behind her to become indignant at his supposed stupidity. But as it turned out the passengers behind were terrorists and the Bwap was pretending to be Just Following Orders as a BatmanGambit to delay them so that Swat could get into place--using stereotypes to divert suspicion. After the incident the Bwap insisted that the mother he was delaying share in the reward.

to:

* A subversion in the {{TabletopGame/Traveller}} ''TabletopGame/{{Traveller}}'' volume ''Alien Races 4''. The Bwaps are a race whose hat is being {{BadassBureaucrat}}s.{{Badass Bureaucrat}}s. In one side story a Bwap starport official is processing incoming passengers. The Bwap stopped a mother and her baby, claiming a petty technicality and caused the whole line behind her to become indignant at his supposed stupidity. But as it turned out the passengers behind were terrorists and the Bwap was pretending to be Just Following Orders as a BatmanGambit to delay them so that Swat could get into place--using place -- using stereotypes to divert suspicion. After the incident the Bwap insisted that the mother he was delaying share in the reward.



[[folder:Theatre]]

to:

[[folder:Theatre]][[folder:Theater]]



-->"I vas never a member of the Nazi party. I only followed orders. I had nossing to do with the war. I didn't even know there vas a war on. Ve lived in the back. Right across from Svitzerland. All ve heard vas yodeling."
* In ''The Time Of Your Life'', the cop Krupp enters arguing with his longshoreman friend [=McCarthy=], protesting that all he's doing is carrying out his orders to keep the peace on the waterfront. [=McCarthy=] asks Krupp if keeping the peace means hitting him over the head with a club if he's on duty and standing on the opposite side.
* The constable in ''Theatre/FiddlerOnTheRoof''.

to:

-->"I -->'''Franz Liebkind:''' I vas never a member of the Nazi party. I only followed orders. I had nossing to do with the war. I didn't even know there vas a war on. Ve lived in the back. Right across from Svitzerland. All ve heard vas yodeling."
yodeling.
* In ''The Time Of of Your Life'', the cop Krupp enters arguing with his longshoreman friend [=McCarthy=], protesting that all he's doing is carrying out his orders to keep the peace on the waterfront. [=McCarthy=] asks Krupp if keeping the peace means hitting him over the head with a club if he's on duty and standing on the opposite side.
* %%* The constable in ''Theatre/FiddlerOnTheRoof''.



* In ''VideoGame/ThePunisher'' video game, one mook yells out "I was just following orders!" when you torture him to his breaking point.
-->'''Punisher''': (Kill) Orders are no excuse.
-->'''Punisher''': (Mercy) Think for yourself next time.

to:

* In ''VideoGame/ThePunisher'' video game, one game:
** One
mook yells out "I was just following orders!" when you torture him to his breaking point.
-->'''Punisher''': --->'''Punisher:''' (Kill) Orders are no excuse.
-->'''Punisher''':
excuse.\\
'''Punisher:'''
(Mercy) Think for yourself next time.



--->'''The Punisher''': (Kill) That's no excuse.
--->'''The Punisher''': (Mercy) You're in the wrong army.

to:

--->'''The Punisher''': Punisher:''' (Kill) That's no excuse.
--->'''The Punisher''':
excuse.\\
'''The Punisher:'''
(Mercy) You're in the wrong army.



-->'''Jason G''': I don't forgive and forget so easily.
-->'''Ignacy''': No! No! I'm sorry! Forgive me! Please...I was only...following...orders...

to:

-->'''Jason G''': G:''' I don't forgive and forget so easily.
-->'''Ignacy''':
easily.\\
'''Ignacy:'''
No! No! I'm sorry! Forgive me! Please...Please... I was only...following...only... following... orders...



-->'''Lemina''': Keep your eyes peeled and your hands on your valuables.
-->'''Ruby''': Ronfar! Get your hands out of your pants!
-->'''Ronfar''': Well... well... well, she said! Just following the lady's orders...

to:

-->'''Lemina''': -->'''Lemina:''' Keep your eyes peeled and your hands on your valuables.
-->'''Ruby''':
valuables.\\
'''Ruby:'''
Ronfar! Get your hands out of your pants!
-->'''Ronfar''':
pants!\\
'''Ronfar:'''
Well... well... well, she said! Just following the lady's orders...



-->'''Thomas Holman''': I was just following orders.
-->'''Lian Xing''': Yeah? Well, we were all just following orders.

to:

-->'''Thomas Holman''': Holman:''' I was just following orders.
-->'''Lian Xing''':
orders.\\
'''Lian Xing:'''
Yeah? Well, we were all just following orders.



** It's rather odd that she would specifically ask you not to shoot him considering that, in order to beat the guy, you have to shoot him about a hundred times. What's one more bullet?
*** CriticalExistenceFailure, clearly.



--->'''Shepard''': This degrades you as much as him.\\
'''Guard''': We have orders.\\
'''Shepard''': You're not important enough to make your own decisions?\\
'''Guard''': I admit... I sometimes get tired of this. Does this really get us anything useful?\\
'''Shepard''': Stop this. For your own sake.\\
'''Guard''': Yeah, you're right. (''To the other guard'') Call it off. At least for now.

to:

--->'''Shepard''': --->'''Shepard:''' This degrades you as much as him.\\
'''Guard''': '''Guard:''' We have orders.\\
'''Shepard''': '''Shepard:''' You're not important enough to make your own decisions?\\
'''Guard''': '''Guard:''' I admit... I sometimes get tired of this. Does this really get us anything useful?\\
'''Shepard''': '''Shepard:''' Stop this. For your own sake.\\
'''Guard''': '''Guard:''' Yeah, you're right. (''To ''[to the other guard'') guard]'' Call it off. At least for now.



* VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas has [[ColdSniper Boone]] saying this to justify why he participated at Bitter Springs. [[spoiler:It turns out to be a [[DeconstructedTrope deconstruction]] in that Boone can no longer live with himself after participating in the massacre and leaves the military, after which the orders seem an incredibly hollow justification, even to him.]]
* Enforced in ''DragonQuestIX'': One of the cardinal rules of the [[OurAngelsAreDifferent Celestrians]] (the guardian angels the protagonist is part of) is that they cannot disobey a direct order from their superior or rebel against him. So when it turns out [[spoiler:the BigBad is a FallenAngel and thus cannot be fought]], the main character [[spoiler:willingly becomes a mortal.]]
* This is a plot point in ''VisualNovel/SuperDanganronpa2'': [[spoiler:Pekoyama claims that she was just "Fuyuhiko's tool", with no will of her own, after she has been already voted as the culprit. Therefore, Monokuma could rule that Fuyuhiko was the real mastermind behind the murder, and thus allow him to "graduate" and get away scot-free while everyone else gets executed]].

to:

* VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' has [[ColdSniper Boone]] saying this to justify why he participated at Bitter Springs. [[spoiler:It turns out to be a [[DeconstructedTrope deconstruction]] in that Boone can no longer live with himself after participating in the massacre and leaves the military, after which the orders seem an incredibly hollow justification, even to him.]]
* Enforced in ''DragonQuestIX'': ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIX'': One of the cardinal rules of the [[OurAngelsAreDifferent Celestrians]] (the guardian angels the protagonist is part of) is that they cannot disobey a direct order from their superior or rebel against him. So when it turns out [[spoiler:the BigBad is a FallenAngel and thus cannot be fought]], the main character [[spoiler:willingly becomes a mortal.]]
* This is a plot point in ''VisualNovel/SuperDanganronpa2'': [[spoiler:Pekoyama claims that she was just "Fuyuhiko's tool", with no will of her own, after she has been already voted as the culprit. Therefore, Monokuma could rule that Fuyuhiko was the real mastermind behind the murder, and thus allow him to "graduate" and get away scot-free while everyone else gets executed]].
]]



* In ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 5}}'', the Lost run on the recruitment policy of "Obey or die", and wholly live up to those words, with officials executing any who resist them (and this is the best outcome -- right, [[BadBoss Void Dark]]?). However, in two instances in story mode, Lost mooks will use this excuse to try to worm their way out of whatever punishment Red Magnus has lined up for them; in neither instance does he listen to any of it, explicitly referencing the people they hurt as the reason he's punishing them in the first place.

to:

* In ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 5}}'', ''VideoGame/Disgaea5'', the Lost run on the recruitment policy of "Obey or die", and wholly live up to those words, with officials executing any who resist them (and this is the best outcome -- right, [[BadBoss Void Dark]]?). However, in two instances in story mode, Lost mooks will use this excuse to try to worm their way out of whatever punishment Red Magnus has lined up for them; in neither instance does he listen to any of it, explicitly referencing the people they hurt as the reason he's punishing them in the first place.



[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* This is a plot point in ''VisualNovel/SuperDanganronpa2'': [[spoiler:Pekoyama claims that she was just "Fuyuhiko's tool", with no will of her own, after she has been already voted as the culprit. Therefore, Monokuma could rule that Fuyuhiko was the real mastermind behind the murder, and thus allow him to "graduate" and get away scot-free while everyone else gets executed]].
[[/folder]]



* In the ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' episode "Flashpoint," Captain Atom is ordered by his Air Force superiors to keep Superman and Huntress from taking the Question from the Cadmus facility where he was being held. He even justifies his action to Superman by saying that he has his orders, "legal and proper." He ignores the obvious signs of torture on the Question's body, clear evidence that Atom's orders were ''not'' legal and that his military oaths actually require him to refuse those orders (see "Real Life," below).

to:

* In the ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' episode "Flashpoint," "Flashpoint", Captain Atom is ordered by his Air Force superiors to keep Superman and Huntress from taking the Question from the Cadmus facility where he was being held. He even justifies his action to Superman by saying that he has his orders, "legal and proper." He ignores the obvious signs of torture on the Question's body, clear evidence that Atom's orders were ''not'' legal and that his military oaths actually require him to refuse those orders (see "Real Life," below).
12th Nov '16 6:56:46 PM Willbyr
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[[quoteright:286:[[Webcomic/{{Freefall}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Freefall_JustFollowingOrders_5563.JPG]]]]
[[caption-width-right:286:[-Not knowing can be dangerous if there are anthropomorphic wolves about.-] ]]

to:

[[quoteright:286:[[Webcomic/{{Freefall}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Freefall_JustFollowingOrders_5563.JPG]]]]
[[caption-width-right:286:[-Not knowing can be dangerous
%% Image removed per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1477167569012690000
%% Please start a new thread
if there are anthropomorphic wolves about.-] ]]
you'd like to suggest a new image.
%%
23rd Oct '16 3:15:44 AM eroock
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** [[http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff2300/fc02275.htm Florence accuses an Ecosystems Unlimited guard of this with great passion]] when she thought he was aware of the effects of [[spoiler:Gardener in the Dark]].

to:

** [[http://freefall.[[https://web.archive.org/web/20160321165648/http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff2300/fc02275.htm Florence accuses an Ecosystems Unlimited guard of this with great passion]] when she thought he was aware of the effects of [[spoiler:Gardener in the Dark]].
23rd Oct '16 3:13:38 AM eroock
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** [[http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff1400/fc01361.htm Florence]] is [[http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff2700/fc02619.htm well aware]] of the problems that can arise from blindly following orders.

to:

** [[http://freefall.[[https://web.archive.org/web/20161001160855/http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff1400/fc01361.htm Florence]] is [[http://freefall.[[https://web.archive.org/web/20160420193738/http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff2700/fc02619.htm well aware]] of the problems that can arise from blindly following orders.
22nd Oct '16 5:40:56 AM Morgenthaler
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* Jiang Qing, wife of Chairman MaoZedong, attempted this defense when the Gang of Four was put on trial after Mao's death. It didn't work.

to:

* Jiang Qing, wife of Chairman MaoZedong, UsefulNotes/MaoZedong, attempted this defense when the Gang of Four was put on trial after Mao's death. It didn't work.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.JustFollowingOrders