Created By: sgamer82 on August 14, 2016 Last Edited By: sgamer82 on December 9, 2017

Shoot On Sight

If this person is found or captured, kill them immediately.

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Since I got some responses,and because I'm kind of forgetful, I'm not launching just yet. I went ahead and removed the Blues Brothers example. Since one person suggested alternative names like Kill on Sight, but not sure if it's worth the crowner yet, I'll just ask here.

On alternative name ideas, what seems like a better option: Shoot on Sight (a well known turn of phrase Kill on Sight (a variation of) Shoot to Kill (used in one post and caught my eye)
The Hero is on the run, and the villain has declared that if he's found he is to be killed immediately. No questions, no capturing, no trials. You see him, you shoot him. This trope covers any situation in which open season is declared on a individual or group of individuals.

Often the reasons behind this decision are as significant a plot point as the proclamation itself. Insisting on this policy can make people question a villain with otherwise good publicity. A clear villain doing this can also unwittingly emphasize the size of threat the person or group being targeted represents. If those being targeted are viewed as Always Chaotic Evil, whether that turns out to truly be the case may depend on the alignment of those giving or carrying out the order. In a Crapsack World, this can also highlight the level of paranoia a person or people are held under.

Compare Leave No Survivors and Shoot Everything That Moves, which is this trope on a broader, less-discriminating scale.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Elfen Lied opens with Lucy having Escaped from the Lab, killing twenty three guards in the process. Since she is so dangerous, the search party is instructed to kill her on sight.

    Film 
  • Judge Dredd. After Dredd escapes the crashed Aspen Shuttle, Judge Griffin orders the Capture Team to kill him.
  • Batman. When Dirty Cop Lieutenant Eckhardt leads the Gotham police officers into Axis Chemicals, he shows them a picture of Jack Napier, who Carl Grissom wants dead for canoodling with his mistress Alicia, and tells them "Shoot to kill. Know what I mean?" When Commissioner Gordon arrives on the scene, he immediately takes over command of the cops from Eckhardt, telling everyone that he wants Napier taken alive and that any man who opens fire on Napier will answer to him.
  • Star Wars Revenge of the Sith has Emperor Palpatine issue the fateful "General Order 66" to all clone commanders, which is a "kill all Jedi on sight" directive. This is a subversion of the Imperial Senate's directive to apprehend the Jedi Knights after Master Mace Windu had deduced Palpatine as the Sith Master and had tried to vanquish him.
  • The Gaunlet has Detective Shockley sent to Las Vegas to extradite a witness to Phoenix. However, the witness can identify The Mole within the police department, so mob assassins all aim to silence her. Further, The Mole convinces the Phoenix police that Shockley has gone rogue, and must be taken down with extreme prejudice.
  • In How to Train Your Dragon, the Book of Dragons describe every dragon depicted as dangerous and should be killed on sight. The only exception is the Night Fury which the books says you must hide from.
  • The Fugitive: After the One-Armed-Man kills a police officer during a battle with Kimble, Deputy Marshall Gerard bemoans the fact that since Kimble is now accused of being a Cop Killer, that means the Chicago Police will shoot to kill if they find him.

    Literature 
  • By the fifth book of the Safehold series, How Firm a Foundation, the Church of God Awaiting's Inquistion has caused numerous atrocities. Their forcing honorably surrendered Charisian prisoners to be turned over to them for Cold-Blooded Torture and execution serves as the last straw for the Empire of Charis, who announce from that moment forward that, while any rank-and-file soldiers can surrender and expect honorable treatment, Inquisitors will be shown no quarter. The best they can hope for after that is to renounce their service to the Grand Inquisitor, at which point they'll stand trial for any crimes they committed rather than be executed outright.
  • In Fredric Brown's What Mad Universe, the parallel universe's humanity is engaged in a war with an alien race. Any time an agent of theirs is spotted, a description is passed to the population and everyone knows to kill on sight. A dozen innocents die each time, but due to the aliens' abilities, there is no alternative.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "The Broca Divide", after an offworld virus breaks out at Stargate Command, General Hammond requests that the military cordon off the mountain with an armored division and that anyone attempting to leave be shot on sight and the body burned.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Paranoia supplement Acute Paranoia, adventure "The Harder They Clone". When The Computer learns that Bill-Y-IDL is part of the conspiracy, it announces over the Complex-wide PA system "Bill-Y-IDL is a traitor! Terminate on sight!"

    Video Games 
  • The backstory of Undertale, as learned in the Neutral and Pacifist runs, reveals that the monsters' king, Asgore, declared that any humans who appeared in the Underground are to be killed following the death of his son at human hands. He regrets the decree immediately once he calms down, but by that point it's too late to rescind the order.
  • In XCOM 2 this is how Advent reacts to any resistence members. You can even find wanted holograms of your top soldiers from your curent, or previous game.
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, this is what happens to Hawke's secret informant within the Grey Wardens (depending on the world state, Stroud, Alistair, or Loghain). After he publicly challenges the Orlesian Warden-Commander Clarel's new policies, he is branded a traitor to be killed on sight by other Wardens. This forces him into hiding, where the Inquisition has to find him in order to discover the nature of said policies.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: The only town available in the early game is Los Santos, trying to get into the other towns gets an instant four-star wanted level with cops pursuing and trying to shoot you down. The ingame explanation is that there's an earthquake warning.
  • In Tales of Berseria, daemons are considered Always Chaotic Evil creatures that kill humans on sight. For this reason, Exorcists recruited by the Abbey (the only beings with the power and authority to fight daemons) have a standing decree to kill them on sight. The events of the game, however, reveal that daemons are NOT universally evil (although usually hostile or bitter), and when a high-ranking Exorcist learns that the Abbey sometimes takes daemons captive, it comes as a shock and makes several characters question their motives.

    Webcomics 
  • In Charby the Vampirate Daray's parents issue a kill on sight bounty on him after he proves a disappointment by not murdering any dragons, which is considered a traditional coming of age right in their village, being mistaken for trans by his homophobic father after a magical mishap temporarily enlarges his chest, for which they disown him, and setting their house on fire as a birthday present to himself.

    Web Original 
  • Worm: The Slaughterhouse Nine have a Kill On Sight order because they are incredibly and horrifyingly destructive supervillains. Unfortunately it is easier said than done.
  • The SCP Foundation policy on Reality Benders is straightforward: "kill that motherfucker before he knows you're even there." Their process for training people to face Reality Benders consists of getting them so high on drugs they'll believe anything they're told, then telling them things like the doors and windows have vanished and desks are going to kill them. It's the closest they can come to a Reality Bender attack without an actual Reality Bender, and they encourage their hunters to remember this moment if they ever think a Reality Bender can be contained or otherwise reasoned with.

    Western Animation 
  • The Shattering Robonoids from Steven Universe patrol Homeworld's underbelly, searching for Off Colors, defective Gems, and fugitives on the run. After locating a being, they scan for its gem. Upon finding one, they fire a blast that can make a well sized hole in rock.

Community Feedback Replies: 34
  • August 15, 2016
    Arivne
    Compare Leave No Witnesses, which is limited to killing witnesses.

    Film
    • Judge Dredd. After Dredd escapes the crashed Aspen Shuttle, Judge Griffin orders the Capture Team to kill him.
    • Batman. When Lieutenant Eckhardt leads the Gotham police officers into Axis Chemicals, he shows them a picture of Jack Napier and tells them "Shoot to kill. Know what I mean?"
  • August 15, 2016
    Arivne
    Also compare the Sub Trope Sic Em, where the Big Bad orders his minions to hunt down and kill the Hero.
  • August 15, 2016
    DAN004
    Some Wanted Poster might have variants where the wanted is only wanted dead.
  • August 17, 2016
    alnair20aug93
    I would suggest a Real Life example, but I think this needs a No Real Life Examples Please and/or Rule Of Cautious Editing Judgement disclaimer, just to know...
  • August 17, 2016
    Arivne
  • August 17, 2016
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • Star Wars Revenge Of The Sith has Emperor Palpatine issue the fateful "General Order 66" to all clone commanders, which is a "kill all Jedi on sight" directive. This is a subversion of the Imperial Senate's directive to apprehend the Jedi Knights after Master Yoda had deduced Palpatine as the Sith Master and had tried to vanquish him.
  • August 18, 2016
    Exxolon
    This is also known as "Terminate With Extreme Prejudice".
  • August 18, 2016
    sgamer82
    Do you mean as an expression or as a trope? Because I came up with nothing for the trope.

    Also changed the Star Wars entry to refer to Mace Windu, rather than Yoda, since Yoda didn't act until after Order 66.
  • August 19, 2016
    AgProv
    Live Action Film
    • In The Blues Brothers, as Jake and Elwood begin their joyfully destructive ride to Chicago, the pursuing cops are advised that use of lethal force in apprehending the Blues Brothers is authorised. This escalates into Army involvement employing tanks and helicopters...
  • September 13, 2016
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • The Gaunlet has Detective Shockley sent to Las Vegas to extradite a witness to Phoenix. However, the witness can identify The Mole within the police department, so mob assassins all aim to silence her. Further, The Mole convinces the Phoenix police that Shockley has gone rogue, and must be taken down with extreme prejudice.
  • January 25, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    Bump.
  • January 25, 2017
    CactusFace
    • In XCOM 2 this is how Advent reacts to any resistence members. You can even find wanted holograms of your top soldiers from your curent, or previous game.
  • January 26, 2017
    henke37
    Maybe go for Kill On Sight since gun's 'n stuff isn't really a requirement? The old title could be a redirect.
  • January 26, 2017
    StarSword
    TV:
    • In the Stargate SG 1 episode "The Broca Divide", after an offworld virus breaks out at Stargate Command, General Hammond requests that the military cordon off the mountain with an armored division and that anyone attempting to leave be shot on sight and the body burned.
  • February 9, 2017
    eroock
    Anime:
    • Elfen Lied opens with Lucy having Escaped From The Lab, killing 23 guards in the process. Since she is so dangerous, the search party is instructed to kill her on sight.
  • March 5, 2017
    Getta
  • March 6, 2017
    Koveras
    • In Dragon Age Inquisition, this is what happens to Hawke's secret informant within the Grey Wardens (depending on the world state, Stroud, Alistair, or Loghain). After he publicly challenges the Orlesian Warden-Commander Clarel's new policies, he is branded a traitor to be killed on sight by other Wardens. This forces him into hiding, where the Inquisition has to find him in order to discover the nature of said policies.
  • March 6, 2017
    partner555
    In How To Train Your Dragon, the Book of Dragons describe every dragon depicted as dangerous and should be killed on sight. The only exception is the Night Fury which the books says you must hide from.
  • March 6, 2017
    Chabal2
    Grand Theft Auto San Andreas: The only town available in the early game is Los Santos, trying to get into the other towns gets an instant four-star wanted level with cops pursuing and trying to shoot you down. The ingame explanation is that there's an earthquake warning.
  • March 6, 2017
    Omeganian
    In Fredric Brown's What Mad Universe, the parallel universe's humanity is engaged in a war with an alien race. Any time an agent of theirs is spotted, a description is passed to the population and everyone knows to kill on sight. A dozen innocents die each time, but due to the aliens' abilities, there is no alternative.
  • March 6, 2017
    NubianSatyress
    In Tales Of Berseria, daemons are considered Always Chaotic Evil creatures that kill humans on sight. For this reason, Exorcists recruited by The Abbey (the only beings with the power and authority to fight daemons) have a standing decree to kill them on sight. The events of the game, however, reveal that daemons are NOT universally evil (although usually hostile or bitter), and when a high-ranking Exorcist learns that the Abbey sometimes takes daemons captive, it comes as a shock and makes several characters question their motives.
  • March 6, 2017
    billybobfred
    Having not actually played Ever Quest but only read guides (and that several years ago at this point), I'm vaguely aware that players who do a lot of murdery crimes can find themselfs being executed on sight by the town guards.

    ... Please don't paste that in unedited as a proper example.
  • March 7, 2017
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Paranoia supplement Acute Paranoia, adventure "The Harder They Clone". When The Computer learns that Bill-Y-IDL is part of the conspiracy, it announces over the Complex-wide PA system "Bill-Y-IDL is a traitor! Terminate on sight!"
  • April 3, 2017
    sgamer82
    Giving this one last bump before launch to see if there's anything that anyone thinks should still be added, be it last minute examples or something to add to the description. Otherwise I'll launch as-is by the end of the week.
  • April 3, 2017
    MetaFour
    I don't think The Blues Brothers is really an example. The exact quote doesn't say lethal force, it says "unnecessary violence":
    Police Dispatch: Use of unnecessary violence in the apprehension of the Blues Brothers has been approved.

    And even though bringing in the military hardware is ridiculously over-the-top, they still capture Jake and Elwood alive, without even trying to shoot them.
  • April 3, 2017
    marcoasalazarm
    Worm: The Slaughterhouse Nine have a Kill On Sight order because they are incredibly and horrifyingly destructive supervillains. Unfortunately it is easier said than done.
  • December 1, 2017
    Dawnwing
    I know this is close to launch, but perhaps "Kill on Sight" would be a better title since not all examples have to do with guns?

    Literature:
    • In Warrior Cats, occasionally a leader will order that if a particular cat is found in their Clan's territory, they should be killed on sight: this includes when Tigerclaw is exiled from ThunderClan for murder, and when Graystripe is exiled from RiverClan for betraying them during battle to save Fireheart's life.
    • In The Wolf Chronicles, when Kaala is (temporarily) exiled from her pack in the first book, Ruuqo informs her that if she's found in the territory after that, she'll be killed on sight.
  • December 7, 2017
    sgamer82
    Maybe. I've just gone with Shoot on Sight because it's a better known expression than anything.
  • December 7, 2017
    NubianSatyress
    The Fugitive: After the One-Armed-Man kills a police officer during a battle with Kimble, Deputy Marshall Gerard bemoans the fact that since Kimble is now accused of being a Cop Killer, that means the Chicago Police will shoot to kill if they find him.
  • December 7, 2017
    darkemyst
    I agree that The Blues Brothers does not actually count as an example as the police make no attempts to shoot them, merely arrest them with a ridiculous amount of force and destruction.

    • In Charby The Vampirate Daray's parents issue a kill on sight bounty on him after he proves a disappointment by not murdering any dragons, which is considered a traditional coming of age right in their village, being mistaken for trans by his homophobic father after a magical mishap temporarily enlarges his chest, for which they disowned him, and setting their house on fire as a birthday present to himself.
  • December 7, 2017
    darkemyst
    Third panel here for a suggested image
  • December 8, 2017
    LondonKdS
  • December 8, 2017
    Crossover-Enthusiast
    The Shattering Robonoids from Steven Universe patrol Homeworld's underbelly, searching for Off Colors, defective Gems, and fugitives on the run. After locating a being, they scan for its gem. Upon finding one, they fire a blast that can make a well sized hole in rock.
  • December 9, 2017
    StarSword
    Music:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=rqorhvqi864cwftt0neciblf