Created By: AFPJuly 7, 2011 Last Edited By: AFPMay 18, 2013
Nuked

Evading Capture

A character must use his wits and training to avoid being captured.

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Trope
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Alice is on the run. Either she is a fugitive of the law and being chased by the cops, or maybe she has just been forced to use her Escape Pod or Ejection Seat in combat, and is now avoiding the enemy soldiers who are out to detain her. She might be injured, for added drama. Expect scenes of her running, hiding, splashing through streams, and at least a few close calls as she tries to stay quiet while her pursuer is standing dangerously close by.

Related to Underground Railroad, which this trope will often overlap with. If this is the basis for a longer story, it will overlap with Walking The Earth and Stern Chase.

Examples:

  • Flight Of The Intruder: Both the book and the film feature this as part of their climax, with downed aviators trying to stay ahead of the North Vietnamese Army, while also trying to help each other.
    • Foreshadowed earlier in the film when the aviators have to evade the Shore Patrol after causing a brawl in a bar while on leave in the Philippines.
  • Halo: Part of the second mission is this in essence, with the surviving UNSC personnel trying to avoid being killed by the Covenant troops until they can regroup and be rescued.
  • Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare: The plot of the British mission Hunted, along with parts of Cliffhanger and The Hornet's Nest in the sequel.
  • Medal Of Honor: The mission Neptune's Net has two of the characters trying to stay ahead of the Taliban while trying to link up with the rest of their team.
  • Babylon 5: Commander Sinclair trying to avoid capture in And The Sky Full Of Stars while suffering from a drug-induced flashback to the Earth Minbari War.
  • Battlestar Galactica: The central plot of the series aside, this came up in several episodes of the reboot series, for example, the B-Plot of several of the Season 1 episodes had Helo and Athena attempting to avoid being captured or killed by the Cylons while trying to find a way off Caprica.
  • The Fugitive (1993). Dr. Richard Kimble is falsely convicted of the murder of his wife and sentenced to death. He must evade recapture or be executed. (both Film and Live Action TV)
  • Behind Enemy Lines. A U.S. Navy pilot is shot down over Bosnia and hunted by the Bosnian Serb army, which doesn't want him to report their genocidal slaughter of local Muslims.
Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • July 8, 2011
    Arivne
    We should probably soft split this into two types:

    • Criminal: An accused/convicted criminal (innocent or not) evading law enforcement authorities.
    • Military: Military personnel trapped behind enemy lines and avoiding capture.

    Criminal:

    Film
    • The Fugitive (1993). Dr. Richard Kimble is falsely convicted of the murder of his wife and sentenced to death. He must evade recapture or be executed.

    Live Action TV
    • The Fugitive (1963-1967). Dr. Richard Kimble is falsely convicted of the murder of his wife and sentenced to death. He must evade recapture or be executed.

    Military:

    Film
    • Behind Enemy Lines. A U.S. Navy pilot is shot down over Bosnia and hunted by the Bosnian Serb army, which doesn't want him to report their genocidal slaughter of local Muslims.

    Edit: Changed TV link to The Fugitive.
  • July 8, 2011
    randomsurfer
    ^The The Fugitive page covers both film and original tv series.
  • July 8, 2011
    Nibbles2
    Prison Break had this as one of its main themes, particularly in the second season.
  • July 9, 2011
    goodtimesfreegrog
    Type 2:
    • Metal Gear Solid 3 has at least two such scenes, one where Snake is imprisoned and tortured, and has to break out of Groznyj Grad with minimal equipment. A later scene features Snake and EVA, the former of whom has been severely injured, sneaking through the woods to get to their getaway plane, while being pursued by GRU soldiers.
  • July 9, 2011
    AFP
    Maybe a Type 3 for someone who has escaped detainment somewhere (like a prison or a hospital, depending on why they are being held)?
  • July 15, 2011
    ryanasaurus0077
    First Blood, anyone?
  • July 15, 2011
    Acebrock
    Type 1: At the end of Season 3 of Burn Notice, after Michael unwittingly helps Gilroy free Simon from his black flight to a secret prison, a massive police response comes after Michael, and he has to evade capture and work on getting Simon back in to custody, before he gets a lot of people killed.
  • September 25, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    Pretty much the second 3/4ths of the game Alpha Protocol. Not surprisingly, the first 1/4th of the game covers setting the protagonist up.
  • October 22, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    • The A-Team is on the run from military police after they escaped imprisonment for a crime they did not commit.
  • October 22, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Series.The Incredible Hulk: David Banner is on the run because they think his Hulk persona killed his colleague and him - since they don't know that he & the Hulk are the same person.
  • October 22, 2011
    Damr1990
    somewhat Common in Walking The Earth Settings
  • February 18, 2012
    Catbert
    Anyone still working on this? Someone seems to be working on a draft for being a fugitive, so this should probably focus on military specific examples.
  • February 18, 2012
    TomWalpertac2
    Doesn't need to be a military example. Civvies can be on the lam too. Just a little more common in military settings.
  • February 18, 2012
    Catbert
    For starters, someone is already working on a draft for civilian fugitives here.

    Secondy, the story, moral and social dynamics of a military person trying to escape capture is very different from the protaganists being fugitives of the criminal sort. I would recommend making them two separate pages.
  • February 26, 2012
    TBeholder
    On The Run?
  • February 28, 2012
    AFP
    On The Run sounds more like a supertrope to this and Stern Chase.

    The Fugitive Arc YKTTW (which, for the record, was started about six months after this admittedly very dormant one), sounds like it's when this situation forms a longer story arc. Our hero being shot down and having to avoid being caught for an episode is this. Our hero being shot down and spending most of the season trying to get back to his friends is Fugitive Arc.
  • February 28, 2012
    Chabal2
    Skyward Sword: there's a No Gear Level where being caught results in the alarm being raised and a gigantic catapult fired at you.
  • July 17, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    ^^ So is it a military/civilian split, or single episode versus multiple episodes (an entire series premise in the case of The A-Team)? Perhaps it makes more sense to make a more basic distinction between plot (of whatever length) and characters (the heroic folk doing the running)?

    FWIW I still think there needs to be a mention of private detectives as a frequent category of this, since they tend to find evidence of crimes (especially corpses) and they often have enemies who try to frame them in revenge.
  • July 17, 2012
    spellraiser
    I don't like when a trope are split up into 'types', and consider that usually to be a sign that the trope is really more than one trope and just needs to be split into subtropes. Besides, it's clunky as hell.

    Anyway, the TV series Kung Fu fits the bill; Caine is on the run from the Chinese Emperor's wrath and sometimes has to evade various American law enforcement officials as well. A good example of this trope overlapping with Walking The Earth.
  • July 17, 2012
    captainpat
    Yeah, it's probably for the best to make two seperate tropes. Also please see Example As A Thesis. Avoid trying to explain a trope with examples, that's what the example section is for.
  • May 18, 2013
    AFP
    Bump, is this tropeworthy?

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