Created By: zarpaulus on April 18, 2017 Last Edited By: zarpaulus on April 22, 2017
Troped

Suicide By Assassin

Hiring someone else to kill you.

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trope
So, your character wants to die for some reason. However, they can't just commit suicide, maybe they're restricted from killing themselves or maybe just because Suicide Is Shameful, whatever the case the obvious solution for them is to hire someone to do it for them.

May include I Cannot Self-Terminate, or be part of Insurance Fraud or some other Thanatos Gambit. See also Suicide by Cop. On occasion it may provide a convenient means of Faking the Dead.

As a Death Trope spoilers are unmarked.

If you're thinking about killing yourself in this (or any other!) manner, we insist you get help and beg you not to do it. Please, talk to somebody.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • The Golgo 13 movie opens with the titular hit man shooting a corporate executive's son as he was about to inherit the company, the father spends the rest of the film trying to hunt down and kill Golgo 13 in revenge. At one point someone tries to point out that it's kind of pointless to seek revenge against a hired gun, instead of whoever hired him, and even later it turns out that the father found a suicide note.
  • An episode of Detective Conan deals with a man who hired a legendary sellgun to kill him after thinking he has cancer. When he finds out otherwise, he regrets it, and he asks Mouri to protect him. It's a lie: his intent from the start was to drag the killer into a trap.
  • In Madlax, General Guen McNichol hires the title character to assassinate him since he's that sick of the war. He also specifies that it's to be a Conspicuously Public Assassination while he delivers a speech, in order to show the people who were controlling his entire life that he is going out on his own terms.

Comic Books
  • Sin City: The short story, "The Customer Is Always Right" has a woman who meets a handsome stranger on a balcony and the two engage in flirtatious banter. As they kiss, he shoots her with a silenced pistol and it's indicated that she hired him to kill her, possibly to escape an even worse situation.

Film
  • Sin City: The opening of the film is an adaptation of "The Customer Is Always Right", with a handsome assassin flirting with his mark right up until he kills her, and it's revealed that she hired him.
  • Played with in Bulworth, when the titular suicidal senator hires an assassin to kill him so his life insurance payout will support his family, then finds new joy in life in his "last days" but can't manage to contact the assassin to cancel the order. Ironically, soon after he does, he's shot by a different, unrelated assassin.
  • In Fletch, the title character is hired by Stanwyk, a millionaire with terminal cancer, to kill him in a "burglary gone wrong" as a Mercy Kill that would still allow his family to benefit from his life insurance. Under investigation, his motivations start to look shaky. Subverted when it's revealed that Stanwyk isn't sick, but wants to fake his death using Fletch's body.

Literature
  • In the Hammer's Slammers story "A Death in Peacetime", set after their coup of Nieuw Friesland a mysterious masked stranger hires some former Slammers to kill Joachim Steuben, and leaves a "good-luck charm", a coin from Newland on a chain with the payment. After Steuben's death President Hammer notes that he wasn't wearing his lucky piece, a coin from his homeworld, Newland.
  • In Ghost Story Harry Dresden discovers that the sniper who shot him in the previous book was hired by himself to prevent Mab from using him after he was done using her power to save his daughter, and after hiring him Molly erased Harry's memory.
  • In Robert Sheckley's novel Immortality, Inc: a rich guy, wishing to die in style, hires hunters to hunt and kill him. He can hunt and kill them back. The catch is, there's the scientific (and very expensive!) process to ensure that someone will have an afterlife and without said process, to have one's soul survive death is almost a Million-to-One Chance. The rich guy has guaranteed afterlife and doesn't fear death, while the hunters mostly don't.

Live Action TV
  • One episode of CSI: Miami had a billionaire construct a rifle with a lock-on ability and give it to his former business partner so he would kill him. He promised him he would inherit the company if he did it.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Quark thinks he's dying so he auctions off his own body parts. When he discovers that he'll live afterwards, he hires Garak to kill him so that he could honor his contract with the buyer, FCA Liquidator Brunt. Ultimately he chickened out, and he lost his business license (briefly) as a result.
  • The Coroner: At the end of "The Fisherman's Tale", Jane discovers that the Victim of the Week had hired one of his old army buddies to shoot him in a very public fashion.

Myth and Legends
  • According to a legend, the ancient Greek tyrant Periander, who was universally reviled toward the end of his life, was afraid of his tomb being desecrated, so he gave an order for two soldiers to kill and bury a person they would find on a particular road in a particular road, then an order to more soldiers to kill the first two, then to even more soldiers to kill the second group. He was that first person, so no one ever learned where his grave was.

Video Games
  • In the Shivering Isles expansion of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, there's a man in Crucible who hires you to kill him. His reason for this is that he can't stand living his depressing life anymore, and that him trying to commit suicide on his own would make him a restless spirit stuck for an eternity on the Hill of Suicides. The only order he gives you is to wait until he's unaware of your presence, so that death can come suddenly and quickly.

Webcomic
  • Suicide for Hire: While most of the time they just set up an elaborate means for their clients to die by their own hands (with or without Hunter's manhandling), there were a few cases where they directly killed a client who particularly annoyed them. Such as the Stalkernote , the Wife-Beaternote , the idiot on the first pagenote , and the cancer patientnote .

Western Animation
  • Futurama: In "The Tip of the Zoidberg", the Professor and Zoidberg made a deal in their Army days that Zoidberg would kill the Professor when he began to succumb to a disease he caught then.

Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • April 18, 2017
    CactusFace
    • An Episode of CSI Miami had a bilionair construct a rifle with lock on ability and gave it to his former bussines partner so he would kill him. He prommissed him to inherit the company if he would do it.
  • April 18, 2017
    ZuTheSkunk
    (EDITED)
    • In the Shivering Isles expansion of The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion, there's a man in Crucible who hires you to kill him. His reason for this is that he can't stand living his depressing life anymore, and that him trying to commit suicide on his own would make him a restless spirit stuck for an eternity on the Hill of Suicides. The only order he gives you is to wait until he's unaware of your presence, so that death can come suddenly and quickly.
  • April 18, 2017
    intastiel
    ^ Worth noting that he also hires the player character because suicides in the Shivering Isles are trapped as ghosts. Regarding the trope description, er, there could stand to be one. Could be an inversion of Better To Die Than Be Killed; might be done because I Cannot Self Terminate, to pull off Insurance Fraud or some other Thanatos Gambit, or because Suicide Is Shameful. Assuming spoilers are unmarked as a Death Trope?
    • Played with in Bulworth, when the titular suicidal senator hires an assassin to kill him so his life insurance payout will support his family, then finds new joy in life in his "last days" but can't manage to contact the assassin to cancel the order. Ironically, soon after he does, he's shot by a different, unrelated assassin.
    • In Fletch, the title character is hired by Stanwyk, a millionaire with terminal cancer, to kill him in a "burglary gone wrong" as a Mercy Kill that would still allow his family to benefit from his life insurance. Under investigation, his motivations start to look shaky. Subverted when it's revealed that Stanwyk isn't sick, but wants to fake his death using Fletch's body.
  • April 18, 2017
    mariovsonic999
    Would this count:

    In Fire Emblem Path Of Radiance, Greil hired Volke that should he go berserk again, he is to kill him and reveal his secrets to Ike should he die by his assailants (in which he was by the Black Knight).
  • April 18, 2017
    sarysa
    Compare Hired To Hunt Yourself

    • Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Quark thinks he's dying so he auctions off his own body parts. When he discovers that he'll live afterwards, he hires Garak to kill him so that he could honor his contract with the buyer, FCA Liquidator Brunt. Ultimately he chickened out, and he lost his business license (briefly) as a result.
  • April 18, 2017
    NubianSatyress
    • Sin City: The short story, "The Customer Is Always Right" has a woman who meets a handsome stranger on a balcony and the two engage in flirtatious banter. As they kiss, he shoots her with a silenced pistol and it's indicated that she hired him to kill her, possibly to escape an even worse situation.

    • Sin City: The opening of the film is an adaptation of "The Customer Is Always Right", with a handsome assassin flirting with his mark right up until he kills her, and it's revealed that she hired him.
  • April 18, 2017
    foxley
    The Coroner: At the end of "The Fisherman's Tale", Jane discovers that the Victim Of The Week had hired one of his old army buddies to shoot him in a very public fashion.
  • April 18, 2017
    Kartoonkid95
    • Futurama: In "The Tip of the Zoidberg", the Professor and Zoidberg made a deal in their Army days that Zoidberg would kill the Professor when he began to succumb to a disease he caught then.
  • April 19, 2017
    Arivne
    • Corrected spelling (themself).
    • Examples section
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples section.
      • Added the word "Examples".
  • April 19, 2017
    Getta
    May be subverted with either Faking The Dead or Death Faked For You (i.e the character makes it look like they were assassinated)
  • April 19, 2017
    sheika
    Anime and Manga: An episode of Detective Conan deals with a man who hired a legendary sellgun to kill him after thinking he has cancer. When he finds out otherwise, he regrets it, and he asks Mouri to protect him. It's a lie: his intent from the start was to drag the killer into a trap.
  • April 19, 2017
    Katsuhagi
    • In Madlax, General Guen McNichol hires the title character to assassinate him since he's that sick of the war. He also specifies that it's to be a Conspicuously Public Assassination while he delivers a speech, in order to show the people who were controlling his entire life that he is going out on his own terms.
  • April 19, 2017
    AgProv
    Literature
    • The Guild of Assassins on the Discworld is this trope. It brings together people wanting to see other people get killed with the people they want to have "inhumed" via discreet, well-educated and stylish intermediaries - at a price. This is usually a high price, as human lives have a value that may, in vulgar terms, be expressed in hard cash. 50% goes to the contracted Assassin and 50% as Guild tax. The City Watch is powerless to intervene, and in any case defines a form of Suicide as "behaving in such a way that somebody else draws the attention of the Assassins to you".

    Fan Works
    • The inner workings of the Guild of Assassins are discussed at length in the works of AA Pessimal. Especially the educationla process that goes into training an Assassin, and what they do afterwards with that education.
  • April 20, 2017
    xxlogos
    In Dragon Ball Super Goku is a subversion. He hired Hit to fight him, not to be killed.
  • April 20, 2017
    BKelly95
    Fan Works
    • There's a Grand Theft Auto III fanfic written like a walkthrough for one of the games. One of the missions is to kill the mission giver so his life insurance will pay off his gambling debts.
  • April 20, 2017
    Koveras
    Looks good for launch.
  • April 21, 2017
    Omeganian
    • In Robert Sheckley's novel Immortality, Inc: a rich guy, wishing to die in style, hires hunters to hunt and kill him. He can hunt and kill them back. The catch is, there's the scientific (and very expensive!) process to ensure that someone will have an afterlife—and without said process, to have one's soul survive death is almost a Million-to-One Chance. The rich guy has guaranteed afterlife and doesn't fear death, while the hunters mostly don't.
    • According to a legend, the ancient Greek tyrant Periander, who was universally reviled toward the end of his life, was afraid of his tomb being desecrated, so he gave an order for two soldiers to kill and bury a person they would find on a particular road in a particular road, then an order to more soldiers to kill the first two, then to even more soldiers to kill the second group. He was that first person, so no one ever learned where his grave was.
  • April 21, 2017
    TyeDyeWildebeest
    I'm wondering if we should include this disclaimer:

    If you're thinking about killing yourself in this (or any other!) manner, we insist you get help and beg you not to do it. Please, talk to somebody.
  • April 21, 2017
    Katsuhagi
    ^ Couldn't hurt, since we seem to do that with any page dealing with suicide.
  • April 21, 2017
    Katsuhagi
    [double post]
  • April 21, 2017
    lakingsif
    ^ and obviously on the Choosing Death index
  • April 21, 2017
    Getta
    Please add my notes about Faking The Dead above.
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