Created By: Ghilz on October 8, 2012 Last Edited By: Ghilz on October 13, 2012

Taxi Cab Killer

A murderer who uses his job as a taxi cab driver to get his victims.

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Do We Have This One??

Taxis are a common sight in the city. Coming and going without notice. And there's something inherently creepy about them: They are someone's else's car. You are in a small confined area prepared and owned by someone else, almost entirely at their mercy. Perhaps this is why Taxi drivers are commonly picked as killers by authors.

Note that it is not uncommon for the killer to solely use the taxi to pick up victims, and to in fact have another job entirely when not killing.

Compare with Not My Driver.
  • The titular The Bone Collector.
  • Happened twice in Criminal Minds:
    • In an episode where the Unsub hunted women for their "scent".
    • The killer nick named "The Hollow Man" was a taxi driver.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes story A Study In Scarlet, the killer is a cabby.
    • Updated to a Taxi driver in the Sherlock episode "A Study In Pink".
  • The Cabbie Killer of CSI: NY.
  • The titular Taxi Driver, a rare protagonist example.
Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • October 8, 2012
    The Sherlock Holmes one isn't a serial killer though.

    • There's a French comic where a taxi driver kidnaps some of his fares and sacrifices them to a crocodile, who he believes is his god, showing up to give the villain a Karmic Death.
  • October 8, 2012
    ^ does the comic have a name? Coz otherwise it's rather broad and an example without the work title is kinda useless.
  • October 8, 2012
    ^ Since the whole purpose of the wiki is to illustrate tropes, an example with details and no name is actually preferable to an example with just a name and no details. The latter is called a Zero Context Example, and is considered one of the banes of the wiki.

    That's actually a pretty good example. Better in many ways than the initial examples, which lack context.
  • October 9, 2012
    ^ According to How To Write An Example - State The Source, "The name of the work the example comes from should be clearly stated..."
  • October 9, 2012
    If you know it, yes. Word of Eddie is that examples without names are acceptable if the name is not available. In particular, examples without names should not be cut (which is the context the question came up in). All of this assumes the example is a good one, of course.

    Examples with nothing but a name, however, violate Zero Context Example and can be cut. Hence, despite what the guidelines might seem to imply, an example with a good description and no name is better than an example with a name and no description.

    eta: Basically, what the guideline you're referring to is saying is that hiding the name is bad. Thus:

    Rather than

    • Frodo must destroy the One Ring.
  • October 9, 2012
    You probably want to give a warning that this is a spoiler-heavy trope. Just seeing that a work is listed will spoil by revealing that the cab driver is involved, unless you give say, the name of the series and use a spoiler tag on the name of the episode.
  • October 9, 2012
    • Played with on the Regular Show episode 'Ello Govna, where the Taxi Cab itself is the killer.
  • October 9, 2012
    Cannibal from the Dark Champions sourcebook Murderer's Row.
  • October 10, 2012
    This character is also useful because they're Beneath Suspicion.

    Also, the CSINY example could use expanding;

    • The Cabbie Killer of CSI New York. He even modified his car so that he can choke whoever's in the back seat with the fumes from it. Sort of a deconstruction of the trope, since the fear of becoming his next victim means that New York grinds to a halt. He takes advantage of this fear to manipulate some frustrated drivers into killing a cop (by feeding false information to Mac's Stepson's blog).
  • October 10, 2012
  • October 10, 2012
    Does this trope include inversions? A cab driver is someone whose job is taking strangers into his car, so he is at a serious risk of someone making him a victim.
  • October 10, 2012
    Has been used in real life by serial killers. The unlicenced fake taxi is often a cover for random rape in Great Britain and women going out on a Friday or Saturday are seriously warned to ensure their cab is kosher before getting into it, or that a friend is seen by the driver to log its reg number. A group of rapists of under-age girls in Rochdale worked as taxi drivers. so take care when using this trope - needs delicate handling as there are real-world examples!

  • October 10, 2012
    @Mozgwsloiku: I would be willing to bet there are more real life inversions (cab driver being the victim, usually after a robbery) than examples of the trope. Not sure how it shakes out for hitch-hiking scenarios (who gets victimized more, the driver or the hitcher).
  • October 11, 2012
    ^ It is. Several countries have cabs with Panic buttons for the driver, which notify the dispatcher and cause a light on the back of the cab to flash, warning drivers who follow the car to call the cops.
  • October 13, 2012
    it's a part of Not My Driver now, do you propose a split?