Digging Up A Body
Characters, accidently or otherwise, exhume a body.


(permanent link) added: 2012-02-11 18:53:14 sponsor: Nothingtoseehere edited by: Lawman592 (last reply: 2012-02-25 06:30:21)

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"Diamond" Joe Quimby: Can't we have one meeting that doesn't end with us digging up a corpse?

Character A is just digging in his backyard and, oops! Found a dead guy. There are several ways this can play out. Character A could be promptly Mistaken for Murderer, anger a ghost, or sttract the Big Bads's attention by knowing too much.

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Examples

Films
  • Henry and co. in Good Fellas dig up Billy Batts, a made man who was killed by Tommy DeVito because the land they buried him in six months ago is being developed and the crew face dire consequences from Paulie and his syndicate if his body is discovered. And to make things worse, he's decomposing.
  • In Young Frankenstein, Fredrick and Igor are digging up a crimal when the Hositle Weather hits.
  • In Poltergeist not digging up a graveyard to build a housing tract was the instigation for the haunting.
    "You son of a bitch, you moved the headstones but you left the bodies, didn't ya? You left the bodies and you only moved the headstones! YOU ONLY MOVED THE HEADSTONES!"
  • During the climax of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Tuco and Angel Eyes end up exhuming an actual grave when they mistakenly believe gold is buried there.
Literature
  • A major plot point in The Chinese Nail Murders: exhuming a dead body without very serious justification was one of the most serious crimes in Imperial China and Judge Dee risks his career and very life by exhuming a body of a man he believes was murdered despite it looking like a natural death.
    • In one of the short stories, the judge is tasked with finding a way to find out if the coffin of an Imperial princess has been opened and used as a hiding place for weapons, without committing the crime of actually opening, or even touching them.
Live-action TV
  • Dexter does this to a serial killer's victims and shows them to him.
  • Several Bones episodes, justifed, given solving crimes with bones is the show's premise.
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation occasionally as well, though less often than Bones.
  • An important step on Supernatural, is to salt and burn the corpse to kill ghosts and related apparitions, or to confirm cause of death. Rarely done in later seasons, which tend to have more recently deceased people in morgues.
  • In the Cadfael book/episode "Potter's Field", a body is found in the title area when the monks are performing a blessing of the field and it gets plowed for the first time in a while.
  • Digging up various bodies was a staple in The X-Files, starting from the very pilot, where Mulder arranges to exhume a body and Scully determines that it could not have belonged to a human being.
  • Happens a lot on Misfits.
    • In Series 1, the protagonists dig up two bodies they'd buried in the first episode because a construction project is getting close to their location.
    • In Series 2, an immortal character who has been Buried Alive gets rescued in this way.
    • In Series 3, two characters exhume a character's body in order to bring her back to life.
  • Alias: Sloane suspects his recently deceased wife Emily is still alive and taunting him. He eventually digs up her coffin to be sure. It's empty.
  • In House, House's new team is assigned to dig up the corpse of a man to see if he had the same disease their patient might have.
Western Animation
  • Parodied in a Family Guy episode where Peter digs up an Indian Burial Ground in his backyard in order to install a home theater.
  • In the Futurama episode "Luck of the Fryish", Fry, Leela and Bender go to the grave of Fry's brother, whom he believes stole his lucky clover and his identity. It then turns out that the Philip J. Fry buried there was actually Fry's nephew, named after him. Bender, meanwhile, takes the opportunity to do some extra grave digging of his own.
    Bender: There. Now no one can't say that I don't own John Larroquette's spine.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Lisa The Iconoclast" they agree at the town meeting to exhume the body of the town founder. Leads to the page quote.
Real Life
  • Truth in Television in the case of the Fred and Rose West and John Christie (Ten Rillington Place) murders, and probably many others.
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